What is Prostate Artery Embolization?
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. It is performed by a highly skilled interventional radiologist, using advanced techniques for treatment.
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 relief of other symptoms for the patient.
Benefits of Prostate Artery Embolization
PAE is a safe non-surgical option for men with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Unlike traditional surgery, there is no hospital stay, less recovery and side effects, and no limits on the size of the prostate. 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 Prostate Artery Embolization
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 if:
- You wish to preserve your sexual function
- You’re looking for a minimally invasive alternative to surgery
- You have a prostate size of over 40 grams
- You have symptoms that are not controlled well by medication
How to Prepare for Prostate Artery Embolization
Once you have your diagnosis of BPH and have chosen prostate artery embolization as the treatment, it is time to prepare for your procedure. Preparation is minimal. You will receive instructions on the steps you should take prior to and up to the day of your procedure. These may include the following:
- Start or stop medications prior to and day of the procedure
- Do not eat solid foods 6 hours before your exam
- You can drink clear liquids up to 4 hours before your exam
- You may have blood and urine samples taken
- You will have an IV inserted to allow for fluids and medication to be given
Schedule an appointment at your nearest American Endovascular affiliated center.
How is Prostate Artery Embolization Performed?
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 Prostate Center’s affiliated physicians are highly skilled in the diagnosis of BPH and prostate artery embolization. They utilize the latest technology and minimally invasive techniques to deliver the highest quality outcomes for patients suffering from an enlarged prostate.
What to Expect After Prostate Artery Embolization
After prostate artery embolization, results are not immediate, because surgery or physical removal of the prostate was not performed. Symptoms will start to improve as the prostate gland shrinks and eases up on the urethra. 90 percent of patients experience relief within the first year.
Because PAE is minimally invasive, there are usually little to no side effects after the procedure. You will be discharged after about two hours, with over-the-counter pain medicine and a precautionary, short course of antibiotics. Side effects are limited, and urinary symptoms may last up to a week after the procedure. Relief from symptoms should continue to improve over the next six months.
Our Prostate Specialists
If you are considering treatment for an enlarged prostate, it is crucial to receive a complete evaluation by a Board Certified physician at American Prostate Centers. Prostate Artery Embolization is currently being offered at our affiliated center in Queens, NY, and will be available soon at our other prostate centers.