Minimally Invasive Therapies for BPHBenign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an extremely common condition that affects close to 50% of men between the ages of 51 and 60 and is part of the natural aging process. BPH occurs when the prostate becomes enlarged, triggering unpleasant urinary symptoms such as the frequent need to urinate and difficulty emptying the bladder. BPH is often treated through medications and surgery, though there are minimally invasive therapies that can also be effective. Options include transurethral needle ablation, transurethral microwave thermotherapy and transurethral electrovaporization, all of which involve the destruction of prostate tissue, as well as prostatic stent insertion. Another option is a breakthrough outpatient treatment called prostate artery embolization (PAE), which restricts blood flow to the prostate without damaging tissue.
What Are the Benefits of Using PAE to Treat BPH?
PAE is better suited to men who have a significantly enlarged prostate and may not be good candidates for traditional surgical treatments, such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). PAE has less serious complications than surgery and offers an array of benefits, including:
- The use of local instead of general anesthesia
- Relief within weeks
- Minimal side effects
- A high patient satisfaction rate
PAE is an outpatient procedure that is performed using light sedation. In this procedure, a surgeon makes a small incision in the wrist and then guides a catheter into an artery to deposit tiny beads in the vessels that supply blood to the prostate. This effectively limits blood flow to the prostate and causes it to shrink. As the prostate reduces in size, the pressure the prostate has been putting on the urethra is alleviated, enabling normal urine flow.
What to Expect With PAE
Patients who undergo prostate artery embolization to treat BPH can expect a much shorter recovery time compared to surgical treatment and won’t have the need for a urinary catheter during recovery. Additionally, PAE significantly reduces the chance of undesirable side effects that are associated with traditional prostate surgery, including erectile dysfunction, dry orgasms and urinary tract infections.
How Effective Is PAE?
More than 90% of men who undergo prostate artery embolization experience relief from their BPH symptoms in the first year. Additionally, more than 80% of patients are still enjoying relief three years after their procedure.
Tampa General Hospital was one of the first hospitals in the U.S. to offer prostate artery embolization as a treatment option for BPH.