Enlarged prostate, technically known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, affects 50-60% of men in their sixties, 70-80% of men in their seventies, and 90% of men age 80 or older.
Prostate (or Prostatic) Artery Embolization (PAE) is a minimally invasive procedure used by CiC doctors to treat enlargement of the prostate gland. Men with enlarged prostate often have difficulties with urination or erectile dysfunction. PAE is a safe, outpatient procedure that is favored over other treatments because it doesn’t require the use of general anesthesia or invasive surgery. In most cases, the patient can go home the day of the procedure.
Why it’s done
Enlarged prostate, technically known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, affects 50-60% of men in their sixties, 70-80% of men in their seventies, and 90% of men age 80 or older. BPH is called ‘benign’ because it is non-cancerous, but it is problematic because when the prostate gland (normally the size of a walnut) becomes enlarged, it puts pressure on the urethra, causing symptoms such as:
- • Difficulty starting urination, and weak or interrupted urination
- • Difficulty controlling urination, or a sudden, urgent need to urinate
- • Increased frequency of urination, especially at night
- • Erectile dysfunction
- • An increased risk of developing prostate cancer
Symptoms such as these can negatively impact one’s quality of life. In the past, BPH was treated with invasive surgeries that often had side serious effects such as sexual dysfunction. CiC physicians treat enlarged prostate using PAE, which eliminates the buildup of prostatic tissue without the need for invasive surgery.
What to expect
Preparation: You should not eat anything for four hours before the procedure, although you can drink water. You should tell your CiC physician beforehand about any medications you are currently taking, and whether you have ever been allergic to seafood or have had a bad reaction to injectable contrast dyes.
During: PAE is performed under light sedation, or “twilight sleep.” After applying a local anesthetic, CiC doctors introduce a catheter into a tiny incision in the femoral artery in your groin, and guide it using X-ray fluoroscopy into the artery that supplies blood to the prostate. Small spheres are then injected into the artery to block it, which causes the abnormal growth to shrink, soften, and become absorbed into surrounding tissue. The procedure takes 1-2 hours to complete.
After: Immediately after the procedure, you will be brought to a recovery room and may be instructed to lie flat to allow the puncture in your femoral artery to close properly. Once you are transferred to the general ward, you will generally stay in bed for a few hours, until any residual pain is under control. Most patients are allowed to go home after four to six hours. At-home recovery can involve some mild pain, so you will be given medications to help you handle it. You should avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours, but you should be able to resume your normal activities within 3-4 days. Patients typically report relief from BPH symptoms within 2 to 3 weeks.
Getting the best men’s health care
As a Comprehensive Integrated Care men’s health patient, you will have some of the most highly trained interventional radiology surgeons in the nation devoted to performing the Prostate Artery Embolization procedure, and supervising your follow-up consultation and care.
Your Utah Team
Joel R. Rainwater, MD
Ryan G. O’Hara, MD