VIR News: Prostate Artery Embolization

UC San Diego offers prostate artery embolization as an alternative, minimally invasive treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia

Features Andrew Picel, MD

​Many men develop an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), as they age. The symptoms associated with BPH include sudden urge to urinate, frequent urination, incomplete emptying, and weak stream.

Traditional surgeries and treatments for BPH are effective but may be associated with side-effects, hospitalization, and painful recovery. In contrast, prostate artery embolization (PAE) provides a minimally invasive treatment alternative to patients with symptoms of BPH. PAE is performed using catheters and imaging guidance. Small beads are injected into the prostate arteries to block the blood flow to the prostate.

​The procedure is performed under conscious sedation and takes typically two to four hours. Patients go home the day of the procedure.While PAE has been performed for more than seven years in several countries, it is still considered an experimental technique in the United States. Medical centers performing the procedure require Investigational Review Board (IRB) and FDA approval. At UC San Diego Medical Center, Interventional Radiologist Dr. Andrew Picel currently performs PAE for patients with BPH following an FDA-approved study protocol, thus providing a minimally invasive treatment option to qualified patients.

Before a PAE procedure, all BPH patients must be evaluated by a Urologist familiar with the treatment to be sure they are good candidates for the procedure. Patients must also be properly informed on all treatment options, including minimally invasive surgery and PAE.

​The long-term success of PAE is under investigation. Studies demonstrate approximately 80% success rate after 3 years. Success may vary depending on treatment technique, prostate size, and other confounding factors that may not yet be known. Reported side effects are minimal, but severe side effects can occur with PAE, and patients should discuss them with a physician before the procedure. A potential benefit of PAE is the avoidance of sexual side-effects that may occur with other treatments for BPH.

For more information about PAE, please contact UC San Diego Interventional Radiology at 619-471-0320. Dr. Picel is available to answer questions and help with study enrollment: apicel@ucsd.edu.

 

 

 

For more information about PAE, please contact UC San Diego Interventional Radiology at 619-471-0320. Dr. Picel is available to answer questions and help with study enrollment: apicel@ucsd.edu.