An Alternative to TURP – Prostate Artery Embolisation (PAE)

Earlier this week, we celebrated Decembeard by discussing prostate health. Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) is one of the most common prostate issues afflicting men over the age of 50.

It may not be a life-threatening disease but its severity may continue to escalate with age. Plus, complications as a result of an enlarged prostate may pose a more serious health risk down the line. Which is part of the reason patients undergo treatment for BPH.

One of the most common treatments for the condition is known as transurethral resection of the prostate or TURP surgery. Essentially, TURP surgery deals with an enlarged prostate by removing parts of the prostate to ease discomfort and symptoms. Just like any major surgery, TURP comes with its risks as well as some unfavourable outcomes.

Side effects like impotence and 3-6 weeks of recovery time are pretty common following the surgery.

What if there was another way? A method that didn’t involve removing parts of your prostate or risk the nasty side effects of surgery?

Turns out, there is a way. Your answer lies in interventional radiology – a medical subspeciality that uses image guidance. Interventional radiologists perform a Prostate Artery Embolisation (PAE).

Here is all you need to know about PAE:

Prostate Artery Embolisation is a unique enlarged prostate treatment that works by treating your arteries. As we’ve highlighted above, traditional surgeries tend to go through the urethra to remove parts of the prostate when treating BPH.

PAE does this differently by limiting blood flow to the prostate via your artery.

What to Expect

PAE starts under light sedation and local anaesthetic. Then a small catheter is inserted into the artery either through the wrist or thigh using the assistance of X-ray machines.

Once the catheter is placed into the arteries supplying the prostate, tiny particles will be injected to partially block blood flow to the prostate. This process is known as embolization.

The procedure lasts between 2-4 hours with no overnight stay required in most cases. That’s it!

There is also a very low chance of needing a catheter after this procedure. Patients can return to work and their normal routines after a few days of recovery at home.

Are you Suitable?

Most patients are. Those suffering from Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) due to benign prostate hyperplasia are also greatly benefited by PAE.

Studies have shown that patients that have undergone PAE saw continuous improvement at both 12 months and 24 months after treatment.

PAE is a safe alternative treatment with long term efficacy for those suffering from severe LUTS.

The best part about PAE is that you get to avoid issues like erectile dysfunction (a common downside of traditional surgery). PAE is less invasive and patients have reported improved erectile function up to 3 months post-treatment.

To summarise, Prostate Artery Embolisation offers patients an alternative to traditional surgeries like TURP. It has a high rate of technical success and low rates of complications and possible improvements in sexual function.

Understand all the options available to you. Here at NBIR, we would never treat you with interventional radiology if we didn’t think it was the best option for you.

Get in touch with us here, or if you are looking to refer a patient to us, you can access our referral forms here.

It is important to check in with your doctor on the health of your prostate and the options available to you before making such an important decision.