Prostate artery embolization (PAE) is an innovative and minimally invasive procedure to treat the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate.
PAE is performed by an interventional radiologist and offers an alternative to surgery for many men with benign prostatic hyperplasia. The interventional radiology specialists at Cooper University Health Care use the latest technologies and procedures to treat BPH in men who either do not wish to have surgery for their condition or are not eligible for the surgery.
PAE may be a treatment option for men with BPH who:
- Experience blood in the urine
- Take medications to reduce the risk of blood clots
- Are receiving treatment for prostate cancer
Advantages of PAE
Common surgeries to treat BPH include prostatectomy (removal of part or all of the prostate) or transurethral resection of the prostate (removing tissue through an instrument inserted into the penis).
Compared to these surgical procedures, PAE offers several advantages:
- Same-day procedure – no hospitalization required
- Minimal pain
- Reduced recovery time
- Minimal risk of sexual side effects such as erectile dysfunction and retrograde ejaculation (semen enters the bladder instead of flowing through the penis)
- Minimal risk of urinary incontinence
- No indwelling catheter to drain urine
The PAE Procedure
The procedure for PAE involves:
- Making a pinhole in your wrist or groin
- Inserting a tiny catheter into a specific artery that flows to the prostate gland
- Injecting a solution of tiny particles that close off the blood supply to the prostate (embolization)
- Repeating the process on the other side through the same incision
PAE is a minimally invasive procedure that requires no general anesthesia; however, you will be given intravenous medication to help you feel relaxed throughout the procedure. The procedure may take up to four hours.
Because PAE is a minimally invasive, same-day procedure, your recovery time will be significantly shorter than if you had surgery to treat your benign prostatic hyperplasia. Those who have the PAE procedure can typically expect to:
- Spend approximately two hours in recovery after the procedure
- Take some over-the-counter medications for any pain or discomfort
- Be on antibiotics briefly after the procedure
- Get back to their normal activities within a day or so following a PAE
The earliest results from PAE are typically seen within a month or two after the procedure, with continued improvement over time.