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Benefits of Prostate Artery Embolization as a BPH Therapy

Prostate artery embolization (PAE) has emerged as a promising therapy for BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Men dealing with BPH – an enlarged prostate – experience a frequent need to urinate, trouble urinating, and a constant sensation of a full bladder, among other symptoms. For men whose symptoms are mild, regular medical checkups are often all that’s needed, as mild BPH symptoms can improve with time. For men with moderate to severe symptoms who have not found relief from medication, or for men who prefer definitive treatment, minimally invasive BPH therapy may be recommended.

PAE is a minimally invasive procedure in which a surgeon makes a tiny incision in the wrist to insert a catheter into an artery. The catheter is then used to place microscopic beads in the blood vessels adjacent to the prostate in order to block blood flow to the gland. Reduced blood flow starves the cells of oxygen and decreases the size of the prostate, thereby relieving pressure on the urethra and improving urinary function. PAE is better for men who have a significantly enlarged prostate or a prostate size that is considered higher risk for traditional prostate surgery. PAE has been shown to maintain its effectiveness for at least three years after the treatment. Research has also found PAE to be effective BPH therapy for men who experience acute urinary retention (the inability to voluntarily urinate), and in patients with very large prostates, a condition that is typically treated with open surgery. Other advantages of PAE over traditional BPH therapy include:

  • The use of conscious sedation instead of general anesthesia
  • A 90 percent success rate, according to several studies
  • PAE is performed as an outpatient procedure
  • Relief within weeks, with mild side effects
  • High patient satisfaction

As one of the first hospitals in the country to offer PAE, Tampa General Hospital is at the forefront of performing this innovative BPH therapy. If you have been diagnosed with BPH and are interested in learning whether you are a candidate for PAE, contact Tampa General’s PAE program coordinator at (813) 844-5072 or complete and submit our online form