Prostate Artery Embolization: A Minimally Invasive Approach
Prostate artery embolization (PAE) is a same day, minimally invasive outpatient procedure used to treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). As men age, they may develop BPH, which is the most common benign tumor found in men that leads to the enlargement of the prostate gland. PAE blocks the blood flow to the prostate artery and uses advanced imaging techniques to see inside the body and provide treatment without surgery. This causes the prostate to shrink and allows improved urination and other symptoms for the patient.
What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate gland. As the gland grows, it can squeeze the urethra, causing uncomfortable urinary symptoms. It’s the most common prostate problem for men over the age of 50.
Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate
Benign prostatic hyperplasia can lead to various urinary symptoms, as well as bladder, urinary tract, or kidney problems. Symptoms of BPH tend to gradually worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of BPH to look out for include:
- Difficulty starting a urination stream
- Slowness or dribbling while urinating
- Increased urgency or frequency of urination
- Uncontrollable leaking (incontinence)
- Inability to completely empty bladder
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Increased frequency of urination at night
- Urine stream that is weak, or stops and starts
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please give us a call today to schedule a consultation.
Benefits of Prostate Artery Embolization
PAE is a safe and effective treatment option for men with BPH and, like other minimally invasive procedures, offers several advantages over traditional surgery. The average prostate size is seen to shrink by approximately 30% one year after PAE. Other benefits of PAE include:
- Performed as an outpatient procedure
- No hospital stay and shorter recovery time
- Low risk of sexual side effects or incontinence
- Virtually no blood loss
- Minimal pain and swelling
- Less need for catheter use (in most cases)
- No limits on prostate size, urethral narrowing, or bladder capacity
Candidates for PAE
The best candidates for PAE are men with severe BPH who experience frequent urination during the day or night, or always feel like they have to go to the bathroom to urinate, but nothing comes out. Those symptoms indicate to patients that they have an enlarged prostate and may need some form of treatment.
You may also be a candidate for PAE if:
- You wish to preserve your sexual function.
- You’re looking for a minimally invasive alternative to surgery.
- You have a prostate size over 40 grams.
- You have symptoms that are not controlled well by medication.
PAE is performed as an outpatient procedure, and no general anesthesia is required. You will receive IV medications to alleviate pain and anxiety, ensuring your safety and comfort for the duration of the procedure. A small catheter is inserted through the artery supplying blood to the enlarged prostate. Then, tiny particles are injected into the prostate arteries, inhibiting blood flow. The process is repeated on the other side, most commonly through the same original puncture. Depriving the prostate of oxygenated blood will cause it to shrink, improving your BPH symptoms.
PAE can take anywhere from 1-2.5 hours, depending on the location and size of the arteries to be embolized. This is a complex procedure because of the very small size of the prostatic arteries and the “twists-and-turns” required to navigate the catheter to them. However, the American Endovascular affiliated physicians are highly skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of PAE. They utilize the latest technology and minimally invasive techniques to deliver the highest quality outcomes for patients suffering with an enlarged prostate.
Side Effects of PAE
PAE has been shown to have fewer side effects than other widely used treatment options for BPH, such as open prostatectomy and transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). In fact, the complication rate associated with PAE is extremely low — less than 1%. According to the World Journal of Urology, side effects that can occur following PAE include:
- Transient blood in urine (hematuria)
- Rectal bleeding
- Acute urinary retention
PAE Recovery Time
Since PAE does not involve surgery, patients can typically go home the same day. You will likely need about four days to recover at home with over-the-counter pain medications and a short course of antibiotics. Most patients feel back to normal after a week to 10 days. The first changes are seen most commonly after 2-3 weeks, and improvement should continue over the next six months. It’s important to follow all post-operative instructions from your physician to achieve the best possible results.
Why Choose American Endovascular for PAE?
When you choose American Endovascular for prostate artery embolization, we are committed to helping you get the optimal care and treatment for your condition. Our team of affiliated physicians comprises some of the nation’s most respected and admired interventional radiologists. They perform PAE, a minimally invasive-image guided procedure for BPH, to provide patients with long-lasting relief from urinary problems.
From your first visit, our affiliated physicians will make sure that you are met with the utmost care and compassion. They will evaluate your BPH symptoms, determine if you’re a candidate for the PAE procedure, and provide a treatment plan that is customized to your unique needs and overall health.
Request a Consultation with a PAE Physician in NY
Before making a final decision about undergoing PAE, it’s important to receive a complete evaluation by a licensed physician at American Endovascular. This procedure is currently being offered at our affiliated center in Queens, NY and will be available soon at our other vascular centers. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with BPH, please contact us to schedule a consultation with a board-certified interventional radiologist at American Endovascular today!