We report our experience with holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP) for treatment of 552 patients with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and their long-term outcome. Between March 1998 and January 2005, a retrospective review was conducted at our institution of 552 cases in which patients underwent HoLEP. Patient characteristics, indications for surgery, preoperative and postoperative International Prostate Symptom Score (I-PSS), peak flow rate (Qmax), postvoid residual urine, operative data, catheterization time, hospital stay, and immediate and long-term complications were recorded. The mean age of patients was 73.7 +/- 7.9 years, and the mean follow-up time was 36 months. The mean preoperative prostate size was 83.7 +/- 49.7 cm3 (range, 20 to 351 cm3), the mean enucleation time was 86 minutes (range, 15 to 255 minutes), and the mean enucleated tissue weight was 52.1 +/- 43.7 g (range, 5 to 340 g). The voiding parameters were significantly improved, with a 200% increase in Qmax, as well as a 75% improvement in I-PSS at 1 year postoperatively, which continued to improve during subsequent follow-up. A total of 11 patients required blood transfusion; 8 of them were on anticoagulant therapy. Irritative symptoms were noted in 9.4% and transient stress incontinence in 4.2% of patients. Bladder neck contracture and urethral stricture each developed in 1.3% of patients. We conclude that HoLEP is a safe and effective procedure for treatment of symptomatic BPH, regardless of prostate size, with low morbidity and short hospital stay. HoLEP appears to be the modern alternative to transurethral resection of the prostate and open prostatectomy, and it may be considered a size-independent new "gold standard."