written by

Greg Martin, MD

Dr. Gregory Martin is a vascular and interventional radiologist in Denver, CO

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June 29, 2021, ,

A Physician’s Perspective on Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE)

Dr. Gregory Martin speaks on his experience performing this life-changing procedure.

Prostate artery embolization is one of the most satisfying procedures I perform. Often patients are referred to me after years of lower-urinary-tract symptoms with miserable quality of life. The medication side effects, waking up at night to go to the bathroom and other symptoms make life difficult for these patients. This procedure works particularly well with very large prostates where the other available interventions are less effective.

When I describe the procedure to the patient, they are happy to know that it will be done in such a minimally invasive way, through a small incision in their groin. They go home the same day and usually have significant improvement in a couple weeks. Postprocedure symptoms are mild and well-controlled with medications.

Some of the happiest patients I see are the PAE patients when they visit for the one-month visit. The majority of patients see significant improvement in their quality of life. They are even more pleased when I tell them they should see further improvement up to three months after the procedure.

I do a wide variety of procedures on a daily basis, and prostate artery embolization is one of my favorites because of the impact it has on the patients. While this procedure is relatively new in the United States, it is continuously growing and has become a large part of my practice. The number of patients I have seen for this procedure has increased significantly over the past couple of years.

About Enlarged Prostate

An enlarged prostate, also called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), involves hyperplasia of prostatic cells, which results in the formation of large nodules in the prostate. While in some cases, there are no symptoms, when sufficiently large, the nodules compress the urethral canal, causing obstruction of the urethra.

An enlarged prostate interferes with the normal flow of urine and causes discomfort and inconvenience. This new procedure, which is still being studied, promises new hope for men with an enlarged prostate.

RIA Endovascular physicians work collaboratively with your urologist to make sure that your symptoms are related to BPH and that prostate artery embolization is an appropriate treatment.

Symptoms of enlarged prostate include:

Urinary frequency, urinary urgency, urinary hesitance — difficulty initiating the urinary stream
Interrupted, weak stream; incomplete emptying of the bladder — feeling of persistent residual urine, regardless of the frequency of urination

Straining – need to strain or push to initiate and maintain urination to more fully empty the bladder
Decreased force of stream – loss of force of the urinary stream over time

Dribbling – loss of small amounts of urine due to poor urinary stream
Enlarged prostate occurs in 34.4 per 1,000 men over age 55 every year in the United States. The prevalence of enlarged prostate increases with age (histologic BPH occurs in approximately 50% of men ages 51 to 60).

While there are a variety of surgical options, prostate artery embolization is a relatively newer, nonsurgical treatment for BPH. This minimally invasive, nonsurgical procedure may be appropriate for certain cases.

About the Procedure

PAE is a minimally invasive, nonsurgical procedure performed in the interventional radiology suite of the hospital on an outpatient basis. Prostate artery embolization can decrease the lower-urinary-tract symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia. In several studies, 90% of patients who underwent the prostate artery embolization procedure experienced clinical success.

Side effects that are associated with prostate surgery, such as sexual dysfunction and urinary incontinence, are rare with PAE.

Read more about prostate artery embolization and its benefits here.

If you’ve been diagnosed with BPH, and your symptoms are not adequately controlled, schedule a consultation with RIA Endovascular by calling 720-493-3406.

(reposted from original blog JULY 9, 2019)