Prostate Artery Embolization: A Minimally Invasive Treatment for Enlarged Prostate

BPH, or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is a non-cancerous growth of the prostate gland that compresses the urethra and thus causes urinary symptoms. It is an increasingly common prostate ailment among men, as it affects almost 50% of all men by the age of 60. Around 1 in 4 men over the age of 55 experience urinary symptoms that are caused due to prostate enlargement. This number is nearly doubled for men over 75 years, as half of them experience these symptoms. If these symptoms affect daily life quality, then treatment is needed.

This is a medical condition wherein the prostate gland becomes abnormally enlarged. Since the prostate gland is located around the urethra, completely surrounding it and is directly below the bladder, the direct result of BPH obstructs the passing of semen and urine through the urethra.

Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

The enlargement of the prostate gland can directly lead to the urethra becoming extremely constricted, since the prostate gland directly surrounds the urethra. These are some of the symptoms patients feel during the early onset of BPH:

  • Dribbling of your urinary stream.

  • Difficulty to pass urine.

  • Frequent urination.

  • A sudden need to urinate.

  • Pain while urinating.

What is Prostate Artery Embolization?

Prostate Artery Embolization is a minimally invasive treatment that is used to treat the urinary symptoms caused by Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). This procedure is carried out by a trained Vascular Interventional Radiologist in a Cath lab.

In this method, a small IV line is placed in the groin artery or the wrist artery and a catheter is navigated to reach the prostatic artery. The prostate is then blocked by injecting 500-micron size PVA particles, thus reducing the blood flow to the prostate and the prostate shrinking in size. This procedure does not require any incision/placement of scopes in the urethra. There is no bleeding or injury expected during or because of the procedure.

Who should consider PAE?

You should consider Prostate Artery Embolization if:

  • You're on blood thinners- since invasive surgeries can increase the risk of bleeding drastically, PAE is a great option compared to conventional treatments, as it is minimally invasive.

  • You have any heart conditions, invasive procedures can get messy and complicated.

  • You have urinary incontinence; leaking of urine and occasional loss of control of the bladder

  • You have irritation during urination.