What is PAE?

Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) is a minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertension (BPH) with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).  Men suffering from urinary frequency, frequency at night (nocturia), urinary retention, blood in the urine (hematuria), weak stream, difficulty going, and/or starting and stopping urination could potentially benefit from this procedure.  During the PAE, the doctor 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.  Shrinking the prostate can relieve the patient’s urinary symptoms.

 

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.

 

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 (also called nocturia), 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 light anesthesia, involves a treatment called embolization, which entails temporarily blocking blood flow to the arteries that supply the prostate.

 

During PAE, an interventional radiologist uses a small needle 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 block blood flow to the prostate, causing it to shrink.

© 2019 by The Vascular Institute of Virginia

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