Prostate artery embolization (PAE) is a minimally-invasive treatment for men experiencing moderate to severe urinary symptoms from benign prostatic hyperplasia – "BPH" – otherwise known as an "enlarged prostate." The procedure is performed by inserting a small catheter into the femoral artery, located in a patient’s groin area, and guiding that catheter into the vessels that supply blood to the prostate. Once the catheter is positioned in the appropriate vessel, tiny plastic particles are injected in order to stop blood flow, resulting in prostate cells death. Ultimately, this relieves pressure on the urethra and thereby allows men to regain normal urinary function.
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, and most men will not feel any pain during the procedure. The procedure lasts 1.5-2 hours and patients are seen before the procedure and approximately six and 12 weeks after the procedure by their Interventional Radiology physician. Patients are in "twilight" during the procedure due to the use of mild sedatives (i.e. Versed and Fentanyl) however patients are other awake.
Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms due to BPH include:
- Urinary frequency
- Urinary urgency
- Urinary incontinence or leakage
- Having to urinate several times at night (also known as “nocturia”)
- Urinary hesitancy
- Urinary retention
- Intermittent or weak stream
- A feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Frequent urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Inability to urinate
- Indwelling catheter, or intermittent use of a catheter for urination
"50% of men over age 50 and 70% of men over age 60 suffer from an enlarged prostate (otherwise known as "BPH" or "Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia",) which can result in severe lower urinary tract symptoms and low quality of life."- Nainesh Parikh, MD, MBA
Is PAE right for you?
There are a number of other treatments that can be used to address the symptoms mentioned above, including transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and simple prostatectomy. Each treatment has its own risk and you should talk with your physician about which form of treatment is best suited to your specific condition.
Prostatic artery embolization at Moffitt
If you’d like to learn more about prostatic artery embolization, you can turn to Moffitt Cancer Center. We’re one of only a few high-volume centers in the United States offering prostatic artery embolization therapy, and we’re also one of the only locations in the country studying this type of therapy for patients with cancer under the Institutional Review Board-approved research protocol. We are also one of the only centers in the world studying PAE in men who also have prostate cancer.
Medically reviewed by Nainesh Parikh, MD, MBA