Medstar Georgetown’s prostate embolization program is the first in the country to have an FDA authorized clinical trial to study the effects of prostate embolization. The program is led by Dr. James Spies, the President of the Society of Interventional Radiology and the Chairman of the Department of Radiology at Georgetown University Hospital.
What is prostate artery embolization (PAE)?
PAE is a minimally invasive procedure designed to treat patients with moderate to advanced symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). The procedure consists of a placement of a small catheter through a vessel in the upper thigh. Under X-ray guidance, the catheter is advanced into the vessels supplying blood flow to the prostate. Embolization is performed wherein small particles are infused through the catheter for the purposes of eliminating blood flow to the prostate.
What are the potential side effects?
No adverse effects are anticipated for the majority of patients undergoing this procedure. Some patients may experience pelvic pain, pain with urination and urinary urgency after the procedure. This may last for 1-3 days after the procedure but gradually subsides. Major risks include potential injury to blood vessels, bladder and rectum.
What is the procedure time?
Most cases will be performed in under 2 hours. Depending on patient anatomy, the procedure may last for up to 4 hours.
What is the recovery time?
Currently, patients are admitted overnight for observation and discharged the following morning.
How effective is the procedure?
Patients can expect to have symptomatic improvement as early as 1 week after the procedure. The symptomatic improvement is similar to that expected for surgery and superior to those reported for medications. In the largest experience to date, patients were found to have improved symptom scores, quality of life, decreased prostate size and improved sexual function.
What is the benefit over surgery?
The main benefit of PAE over surgery may be the lower incidence of potential serious complications. Commonly seen complications of surgery including bleeding, sexual dysfunction and incontinence, are not seen after PAE. The length of hospital stay is also lower on average.