Prostatic artery embolization, often referred to simply as PAE, is a procedure used for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as BPH or prostate enlargement, the most common type of benign tumor in men. The procedure is relatively new – the first intervention took place in 2009 – and it has been developed to provide a minimally invasive alternative to the major surgery used for the treatment of prostate enlargement called the trans-urethral resection of prostate and to ensure high efficiency while also reducing healing time and suffering.
What Is Prostate Enlargement?
The prostate is a small male organ responsible for producing some types of fluid in semen and that also has a role in ejaculation. Located in front of the bladder and partially wrapped around the urethra, the tube through which urine is passed, the prostate usually starts enlarging around the age of 50. Though the exact causes that trigger the growth process are not fully understood, specialists think that the growth is related to the changes in the male body’s hormonal balance.
What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Enlargement?
The most common symptoms are related to sexual performance and the functioning of the urinary tract and include the frequent urge to urinate, even when the bladder is empty or almost empty and especially at night; a urine stream that is too weak; difficulty passing urine and urinary incontinence.
What Is Prostatic Artery Embolization?
Prostatic artery embolization is a procedure used for easing or eliminating the symptoms of benign prostate enlargement by reducing the size of the enlarged prostate by reducing the blood supply to the organ.
The intervention is performed by an interventional radiologist in a hospital. The specialist will insert a catheter into the patient’s artery in the groin or in the wrist, then the catheter will be guided to the vessels that provide the blood supply of the prostate and tiny round particles are injected through the catheter into the treatment area on both sides of the prostate. When the procedure is complete, the specialist will remove the catheter.
What to Expect after Prostatic Artery Embolization?
The procedure usually takes only around an hour at your local interventional radiologist Fort Collins office, but if difficulties are encountered when accessing the arteries that lead to the prostate gland, the procedure might take up to two hours. When the intervention is complete and the catheter has been removed, the patient will be taken to a hospital ward for being monitored for a couple of hours. If everything goes well, the patient will be allowed to go home, but if the specialist considers it necessary, he will be asked to stay for a couple of hours more or for a day in the hospital for further monitoring,
As the result of the treatment, the prostate will start shrinking, bringing relief for the symptoms of the prostate enlargement. The positive effects are almost instant, though some patients might experience mild pain or discomfort in the treated area and some redness and swelling on the skin where the catheter was introduced is not uncommon either.