Prostate artery embolisation
Prostate artery emobilisation is a minimally-invasive procedure used to treat benign prostate enlargement (BPE), a common condition in men aged 50-plus that can cause symptoms such as increased need to urinate (particularly during the night), feeling unable to fully empty the bladder, having a weaker urine flow than normal and, in some cases, urinary incontinence or leakage.
While benign prostate enlargement is very common and not medically serious, it’s important to always get these symptoms checked by a specialist, as they can sometimes be caused by other conditions that may require additional treatment, such as cancer. Further details of the diagnostic services available at Hadley Wood Hospital can be found on our prostate assessment page.
During the procedure, a catheter is inserted into an artery in the groin and X-ray is used to guide it into the blood vessels supplying the prostate. Once in place, the specialist will then inject a solution via the catheter containing tiny plastic particles. This reduces the blood supply to the prostate, causing it to shrink back to a smaller size.
Most people are able to leave hospital after a few hours, although you’ll need somebody to accompany you home and you won’t be able to drive for at least 24 hours until the sedation completely wears off. It’s generally advised that you take a week off work to recover from the procedure, as you will need to rest. Your consultant will advise on how long to wait before returning to more strenuous physical activities.
While prostate artery emobilisation is not 100% effective in all cases, most men experience significant and long-lasting improvements in symptoms.