Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE) Treatment

Prostatic artery embolization, or PAE, is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. Because BPH is an enlarged prostate gland, the overall goal of PAE treatment is to reduce the size of the prostate and decrease any symptoms. PAE uses microscopic beads to block the blood flow to the prostate, which deprives the cells of oxygen and ultimately helps the gland shrink in size.

Who is a candidate for PAE?

As a minimally invasive procedure that preserves sexual function, PAE is an alternative to drug and surgical BPH treatment options. If any of the following are true for you, you may be a candidate for PAE:

  • You have BPH, or are experiencing symptoms associated with BPH.
  • You’re looking to preserve sexual function during BPH treatment.
  • You have a reaction to BPH medication, or would prefer another route of treatment.
  • You’re either not a candidate for, or do not want BPH surgical treatment.

How does PAE treatment work?

If you have determined you are a viable candidate for PAE or are actively deciding about the treatment, it’s important to understand the process.

Prior to the PAE treatment

Before the PAE treatment begins, you may undergo a brief physical examination and a series of ultrasounds or MRIs. This will assist in evaluating the rate of urine flow. As you prepare for the procedure, you will be given a mild sedative, but remain awake. Because PAE is generally an outpatient procedure, no general anesthesia is needed.

During the PAE treatment

As the procedure begins, a small incision will be made in your upper thigh or wrist as to gain access to your arterial system. A small, spaghetti-like catheter is then placed into the vessels that supply blood to your prostate.

As the prostate is reached, small microscopic particles are injected into the blood vessels and the blood flow to your prostate is decreased. This process will be repeated as to reach both sides of the prostate.

After the PAE treatment

As the blood flow decreases, the prostate will begin to shrink, and your urinary symptoms will begin to improve. Because the treatment is outpatient and takes nearly one to four hours to perform, you can resume normal activity within the day.