Frequently Asked Questions
What is Prostate Artery Embolization?
Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) is a minimally invasive alternative to treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a noncancerous prostate tumor. Symptoms of BPH typically include a weak stream, incomplete emptying, frequent urination, leaking and an urgent need to use the bathroom. Prostate artery embolization shrinks the prostate by treating its blood vessels. It is performed by an interventional radiologist through a small incision in the upper thigh.
Until recently, surgery was the only option when medications did not work to reduce symptoms. PAE is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that provides relief with minimum recovery time.
What are Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) Symptoms?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition and is found in 50% of men over the age of 40.
Symptoms may include:
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Increase frequency of urination at night
- Difficulty starting urination
- Week urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
- Inability to completely empty the bladder
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Urinary tract infection
- Inability to urinate
- Blood in the urine
How is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) Diagnosed & Treated?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is usually diagnosed during a urology exam. Determining whether you are an appropriate candidate for Prostate Artery Embolization requires careful consideration of all treatment options. Most insurance companies pay for this treatment, but you may want to talk with your interventional radiologist about this before your procedure.
The procedure does not involve surgery. As a much less invasive but just as effective alternative, the physician will guide a small catheter and inject small particles, no bigger than a grain of sand that will cause the artery to shrink and symptoms to fade.
PREPARING FOR PAE
PAE is not painful and takes only one to two hours to perform. You will be made comfortable with IV sedation. After PAE, patients typically spend one night in the hospital and resume light activities within the next few days. The majority of patients are able to resume their normal routine within one week. Six months after the procedure, patients are scheduled for an MRI scan to confirm the success of the treatment.
What is a Varicocele? A varicocele is an abnormal enlargement of the veins in the scrotum. These veins have one-way valves that normally prevent blood from backing up into the scrotum. When these valves are abnormal, then the veins in the scrotum can become enlarged, uncomfortable and disfigured.
Approximately 20% of males have a varicocele. In young men, this can affect fertility.
You need to know your treatment options.
If someone tells you that you need surgery, be sure to discuss treatment with an interventional radiologist (IR Doctor). If they don’t let you see an IR doctor, go elsewhere. Surgery is more invasive and less successful.
Surgery for varicocele involves general anesthesia, has a higher rate of recurrence and a higher complication rate of hydrocele.
Embolization is the technique of blocking up an abnormal blood vessel. Varicocele embolization is more thorough in blocking the abnormal vessel than surgery. The procedure is less invasive, less risky and less recovery than surgery. The procedure involves placing a small tube in the vein to block up the abnormal vein, requires less than an hour and is performed as an outpatient.
PROCEDURE SUCCESS & RISKS
Prostate Artery Embolization is a successful treatment for thousands of men, with at least 90% reporting significant or total relief from symptoms.