Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition among older men that causes the prostate gland to grow and lead to symptoms such as urinary frequency, urgency, and discomfort. While there are several treatments available for BPH, prostate artery embolization (PAE) has recently emerged as a minimally invasive and effective option. In this blog, we’ll explore what PAE is, how it works, and whether it’s a good option for you.
What Is Prostate Artery Embolization?
Prostate artery embolization (PAE) is a minimally invasive procedure that involves blocking the blood supply to the prostate gland, which causes it to shrink and relieve the symptoms of BPH. During the procedure, an interventional radiologist threads a small catheter through a tiny incision in the groin and into the arteries that supply blood to the prostate. Small particles, often made of a biocompatible material, are then injected into those arteries, reducing blood flow to the prostate. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia, and it typically takes between 1-2 hours.
How Does PAE Work?
PAE works by blocking the blood flow to the prostate, which reduces the size of the prostate and relieves the pressure it puts on the urethra. This pressure is what causes the symptoms of BPH. By reducing the size of the prostate, PAE can improve urine flow, reduce the frequency of urination, and decrease the need to wake up at night to urinate. PAE’s effects are gradual, and it may take weeks or months to see a significant improvement in symptoms. However, once the effects kick in, they can be long-lasting.
Is PAE a Good Option for Me?
PAE is a good option for many men who suffer from BPH. The procedure is minimally invasive and has a low risk of complications. It does not require general anesthesia, so there is no need to be hospitalized overnight. Moreover, it is suitable for men who are not good candidates for surgery due to their age or other health conditions. However, every patient is different, and the best way to determine if PAE is right for you is to consult with a qualified interventional radiologist. They will assess your symptoms, medical history, and imaging studies to determine the best course of treatment for you.
What Can I Expect During and After PAE?
During PAE, you will be awake but sedated, and you may feel some discomfort as the catheter is being inserted. After the procedure, you may experience some pain or discomfort, but it is usually mild and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. You may also experience some urinary symptoms, such as a burning sensation while urinating, a frequent urge to urinate, or blood in the urine. These symptoms are common and usually resolve within a few days. You will need to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for a week or two after the procedure and avoid sexual activity for about a month. Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions on post-procedure care.
If you suffer from BPH, you don’t have to live with the inconvenience and discomfort of your symptoms. PAE is a safe and effective treatment option that can help you regain your quality of life. At Texas Vein & Wellness Institute, our team of interventional radiologists has extensive experience performing PAE and can help you determine if it’s the right option for you. If you’re interested in learning more about PAE or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today.
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