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The Procedure for Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE)

The procedure for prostate artery embolization is a non-surgical technique that alleviates urinary symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate.

Most men over 50 will experience prostate enlargement, increasing the chances exponentially every subsequent decade. An enlarged prostate not caused by an infection or malignancy is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Symptomatic BPH is a non-life-threatening yet highly disruptive condition. Because the growth of prostate tissues can push on the urethra, BPH can trigger painful urinary symptoms that can dramatically impede patients' quality of life.

Although some patients can relieve symptoms through lifestyle modifications or medication, BPH will not disappear without medical intervention. Prostate artery embolization (PAE) is a highly effective, safe, and minimally invasive technique for long-term symptom relief.

What Is the Procedure for Prostate Artery Embolization?

PAE uses embolic materials consisting of tiny particles to inhibit blood flow to the prostate. Preventing the blood supply from reaching the prostate effectively halts its growth and causes it to shrink, relieving urinary symptoms.

To perform the procedure, an artery in the wrist or groin is accessed and an introducer sheath is placed. A thin wire is threaded through the artery and directed toward the prostatic arteries using image guidance. Once the catheter is in place, the embolic materials are injected through the wire into the arteries. These materials block the blood flow to the prostate, causing it to shrink.

Moderate sedation is typically administered during prostatic artery embolization to make you comfortable. You will not need general anesthesia like with traditional surgery.

The procedure typically takes two hours to complete. It can be performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning hospitalization is unnecessary.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Prostatic Artery Embolization?

PAE may be a suitable alternative for individuals who do not want to undergo surgery or cannot tolerate medication side effects.

The severity of BPH symptoms also plays a role in determining whether PAE is an appropriate treatment. Candidates for PAE typically experience moderate to severe symptoms that adversely impact their quality of life. These symptoms can include frequent urination, weak urine flow, difficulty starting and stopping urination, and the sensation of incomplete bladder emptying.

Additionally, candidates for PAE have generally failed to respond to, or are unsuitable for, BPH medications or other conservative treatments.  

Candidates must have a thorough evaluation before undergoing PAE. This evaluation typically includes taking a detailed medical history, physical examination, and imaging studies to assess the size and appearance of the prostate gland.

Lastly, individuals with other significant medical conditions or contraindications to PAE, such as bleeding disorders or severe allergies to contrast dye, may not be suitable candidates for this procedure.

Why Is Prostate Artery Embolization Effective?

PAE has been shown to provide significant symptom relief in patients with BPH. Studies have demonstrated improvements in urinary flow rates, reduction in prostate volume, and relief from urinary symptoms. These benefits can improve patients' quality of life, allowing them to resume daily activities without the constant burden of urinary symptoms.

Another advantage of PAE is its potential to preserve sexual function. Unlike surgical treatments for BPH, such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) or laser therapy, PAE does not involve cutting or removing tissue from the prostate. The non-surgical approach means the risk of sexual side effects, such as erectile dysfunction or retrograde ejaculation, is significantly lower.

Texas Prostate Institute: Offering Innovative, Safe, and Accessible BPH Treatment

At Texas Prostate Institute, patient comfort and satisfaction are our top priorities. Our outpatient treatment approach allows patients to receive effective care in a convenient and compassionate environment. We partner with each individual to develop a personalized treatment plan that suits their unique circumstances and goals.

If you are struggling with BPH symptoms, we're here to help. Please contact our team of caring specialists to schedule an appointment today.

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