Prostate Artery Embolization Now Available to Patients at UCSF

Interventional radiology physicians at UCSF, including Ryan Kohlbrenner, MD, now offer an alternative to prostate surgery—prostate artery embolization (PAE). This is great news for men suffering from prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH). There are many benefits of PAE over conventional prostate surgery. It is not known to cause complications such as impotence and incontinence. Furthermore, it is minimally invasive, no tissue is removed, recovery time is shorter and it is not performed through the urethra.

BPH is a condition common in older men. It can cause symptoms such as poor urinary flow, frequent urination during the day and night, incomplete bladder emptying, and sudden urge to urinate. While BPH may be treated with oral medications, not all patients experience relief from their symptoms. Patients with severe symptoms may be recommended for surgery by a urologist. This surgical procedure is known as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).

PAE is presented as an alternative to TURP. This treatment is part of a class of procedures called minimally invasive image-guided procedures (MIIPs). The procedure itself shrinks the prostate by treating its blood vessels. It is performed by an interventional radiologist who gains access through a small incision in the upper thigh. Small particles are injected to slow the blood flow to the gland. After PAE, the prostate relaxes and shrinks, resulting in symptom relief for most men in the following weeks and months.

The goal of this innovative treatment is to provide BPH patients with a relatively painless outpatient procedure. Since then, the procedure has been increasingly used throughout the United States.

For additional information on PAE, hear directly from Dr. Kohlbrenner by watching a video of his lecture.

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