Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) Treatment For BPH
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or more commonly called BPH, is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. Prostate enlargement occurs naturally as a man ages. No one knows exactly why the condition occurs, but it is most common among aging men, affecting as many as 50% of men between the ages of 51 and 60 and up to 90% of men older than 80.1
What are the symptoms of BPH?
As the prostate enlarges, it compresses the urethra. This can cause problems with urination (sudden urges to urinate, difficulty starting or inability to urinate, weak and/or interrupted urinary flow, sensation that the bladder is not empty after urination, and burning/ painful urination), frequent trips to the bathroom during the day and/or night, interrupted sleep, and disruption of your daily routine.
Is there an alternative to traditional treatment methods?
One treatment option for BPH is prostate artery embolization or PAE. PAE is a minimally invasive, non- surgical treatment for BPH and works by placing tiny beads called microspheres in the vessels which supply blood to the prostate. These microspheres block blood flow to the prostate. Without blood flow, the prostate shrinks over time improving the symptoms of BPH.
What are the advantages of PAE?
- Proven safe and effective at reducing symptoms of BPH with a low risk of sexual dysfunction or urinary complications2
- Performed under local anesthesia — no general anesthesia
- An outpatient procedure typically without an overnight hospital stay3
- Performed through the blood vessels not the urethra
What can I expect during the procedure?
During the PAE procedure, a small tube called a catheter will be placed in the blood vessels supplying blood to the prostate through either the groin or the wrist. Once the catheter is in place, microspheres are inserted through the catheter into the blood vessels. Without blood flow, the prostate shrinks over time improving the symptoms of BPH.
What can I expect after PAE?
Every patient’s experience is different; however, patients typically go home within a few hours after the procedure and can usually return to everyday activities within a short time. Recovery from PAE varies between patients; however, it is common to experience some of the following symptoms:
- Pelvic pain or cramping
- Tired feeling
Medications will be prescribed to keep you comfortable while you are recovering. As with any medical procedure, complications can occur. Rare complications that may appear sometime after the procedure include reduced blood flow to the leg, allergic reaction, infection, and ischemia (decreased or ineffective blood supply) to pelvic organs.
How do I decide if PAE is best for me?
It is important that you understand all of the treatments that are available to you. You should have a detailed discussion with your physician about your options, including benefits and potential risks. The procedures and information described on this page are not intended to be a substitute for a physician’s judgment. Only you and your physician can decide which choice is best for you. For more safety information, visit www.varian.com/safety.
- BPH: surgical management. Urology Care Foundation website. www. urologyhealth.org. External link. Updated July 2013. Accessed July 29, 2014.
- Leong, JY, et al. Minimizing Sexual Dysfunction in BPH Surgery. Curr Sex Health Rep. 2019 Sep; 11(3): 190–200.
- Piechowiak, R, et al. Prostate artery embolization in an outpatient based lab (OBL): safety and radiation exposure . JVIR 2017; S1051-0443(16)31757-2. Vascular Institute of Virginia, Long Beach, NY