New Procedure Shrinks Prostate Without Surgery
'Prostatic artery embolization' didn't cause troublesome side effects in study
By Serena Gordon
MONDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Men who need treatment for an enlarged prostate may soon have a new nonsurgical option, a small, early study suggests.
Called prostatic artery embolization (PAE), the technique uses a catheter threaded into an artery in the leg. The catheter is guided to the artery that supplies blood to the prostate. Then, tiny beads are injected into the artery, which temporarily block the blood supply to the prostate.
The temporary loss of blood supply causes the prostate to shrink, relieving symptoms, according to study lead author Dr. Sandeep Bagla. What's more, the new treatment doesn't appear to have the same risk of serious complications, such as incontinence and impotence, that often accompany enlarged prostate treatment.
"This is fantastic news for the average man with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Many men decline current treatments because of the risks. But, for the average man, PAE is a no-brainer," said Bagla, an interventional radiologist at Inova Alexandria Hospital, in Virginia.
The procedure has only been available as part of Bagla's trial until recently, but he said some interventional radiologists have started doing prostatic artery embolization, and he expects the procedure will become more widely available by the end of the year.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the medical term for an enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate is very common as men get older. As many as half of all men in their 60s will have an enlarged prostate, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). By the time men are in their 70s and 80s, up to 90 percent have benign prostatic hyperplasia, according to the NIDDK.
Some men experience no symptoms, while others may feel the need to urinate frequently, but they have a weak urinary stream, the NIDDK says. There are a number of treatments available for benign prostatic hyperplasia, including medications and surgery.
Bagla said that interventional radiologists in Europe and South America have been using prostatic artery embolization, and that the current study is the first in the United States to test the procedure.