1. BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERPLASIA
The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland which is part of the male reproductive system. The prostate normally enlarges as a man gets older, perhaps related to changing hormone levels that occur naturally with aging. In most men, this does not present any issues. However in others, this enlargement can cause pressure on adjacent structures like the bladder and urethra and cause problems with urination, a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia or hypertrophy (BPH). The urethra becomes constricted by the enlarged prostate gland and the bladder is unable to empty effectively. Symptoms can include frequent urination, the urgency to urinate, poor urine stream, and incomplete bladder emptying. This condition can develop in as approximately 50% of men in their 50s, and as many as 90% of men in their 70s and 80s.
Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) is a safe non-surgical, minimally-invasive procedure that effectively treats BPH. Through a very small incision made in the groin or wrist, a tiny flexible hollow tube (catheter) is inserted into the blood vessels that supply the prostate gland under x-ray guidance. Tiny microspheres are delivered through the catheter into the blood vessel, permanently blocking the blood supply to the prostate gland. Thus, because the tissue is deprived of oxygen and nutrients, the gland eventually shrinks and the symptoms resolve. The procedure is performed in the office, and patients go home the same day. Only intravenous sedation is needed during the procedure (no general anesthesia is required). There is a very short recovery time with most patients typically back to their normal activities within just a few days.
Compared to surgery, PAE offers faster recovery and lower risk of complications. Another key benefit is the preservation of sexual function which can often be negatively impacted following surgery. This procedure is an excellent option for patients who do not wish to have surgery or who are not candidates for surgery, who have large prostates, who have bleeding from the prostate, and/or who have failed or cannot tolerate medication therapies.