What is prostate artery embolization?
Prostate embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that treats benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also called prostate enlargement. It’s a same-day procedure so you can return home afterwards.
When might I need prostate embolization?
You might need prostate embolization if BPH causes troublesome symptoms such as:
- Increased urinary frequency
- Increased urinary urgency
- Weak urine stream
- Urine dribbling after you’ve already urinated
- Difficulty fully emptying your bladder
- Discomfort during urination
Before scheduling a prostate embolization, you’ll need a full workup, such as urinalysis, digital rectal exam, prostate gland imaging, and possibly a test to rule out prostate cancer to make sure this procedure is right for you.
How does prostate embolization work?
During the procedure, the team creates a tiny incision in your groin. They use a specialized type of X-ray guidance to locate the specific blood vessels that deliver blood to your prostate gland.
Then, they inject many microscopic plastic beads to block part of the blood supplying your prostate gland. The team then moves to the other side of your body to treat the blood vessels supplying that part of your prostate gland. They often use the same incision to treat both halves of your prostate gland.
What are the advantages of prostate embolization?
Prostate embolization can dramatically relieve the troublesome symptoms of BPH. The procedure requires just a tiny groin incision and only intravenous sedation — a sharp contrast to surgeries that typically require large incisions, general anesthesia, and significant downtime.
Some BPH treatments, like transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), carry an increased risk of sexual side-effects like erectile dysfunction. Prostate embolization has less side-effects and a lower risk of complications than TURP. Some men may even experience improved sexual function once prostate embolization takes full effect.
How long does it take for prostate embolization to work?
Prostate embolization results usually take a couple of weeks to appear, and then the symptoms continue to improve over the next three or four months as the prostate steadily shrinks. The procedure won’t eliminate your prostate gland; it merely helps it return to a healthier size.
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