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Prostate artery embolization (PAE)

Nonsurgical Treatment for enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH) currently in clinical trials

Enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common benign neoplasm, or new abnormal growth of tissue in men, with more than 50 percent of men aged 60–69 years and as many as 90 percent aged 70–89 years experiencing symptoms. As life expectancy increases, so does the occurrence of BPH.¹

As a man ages, the prostate gland slowly enlarges and may press on the urethra and cause the flow of urine to be slower and less forceful. Enlarged prostates cause urinary frequency, urgency, passing urine more often (particularly at night), weakened stream and incomplete bladder emptying. Such symptoms can have significant negative impact in quality of life, leading many men to seek treatment.

The standard treatment for BPH is surgery, which requires general anesthesia and can cause complications, such as urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction, impotence and retrograde ejaculation, in which semen enters into the bladder. PAE, which can be performed under local anesthesia, involves a treatment called embolization, which entails temporarily blocking blood flow to the arteries that supply the prostate.

During PAE, an interventional radiologist makes a tiny incision in the groin and advances a small tube called a catheter, to the prostate artery. Microscopic beads are released into the artery, where they lodge and temporarily block blood flow to the prostate, causing it to shrink.

SIR Position on PAE for BPH:

PAE for BPH is a novel and promising therapy that appears safe and efficacious based on short-term follow-up. Patient satisfaction is high, and repeat intervention rates are low. SIR supports the performance of high-quality clinical research to expand the numbers of patients studied, to extend the duration of follow-up, and to compare the PAE procedure against existing surgical therapies. [... Read SIR's complete Position Statement on PAE].

Learn more about ongoing clinical trials for this treatment.

¹Wei, J.T., Calhoun, E., and Jacobsen, S.J. Urologic diseases in America project: benign prostatic hyperplasia. J Urol. 2005; 173: 1256–1261