A NICE green light is allowing men with benign prostatic hyperplasia to receive a procedure called transurethral water vapour ablation on the NHS.

The cost watchdog has approved NHS funding for the procedure, which involves a retractable needle being inserted into the prostate to deliver steam to kill off excess cells and reduce the size of the prostate.

Improvement in lower urinary tract symptoms can be expected one to three months after treatment, without impairing sexual function, the Institute said. Also, the procedure could enable patients to be seen as day cases, freeing up resources.

Current treatment options include medicines such as alpha blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, as well as a range of surgical options, including transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), but these can lead to potential complications such as bleeding, infection, urethral strictures, incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

Benign prostate enlargement is common in men aged over 50, though its cause is unknown. Symptoms can include difficulty starting to urinate, a frequent need to urinate, and difficulty fully emptying the bladder.