Embolization provides minimally invasive option to treat enlarged prostate

April 4, 2012

Prostatic artery embolization may be an effective treatment for men suffering from symptoms of an enlarged prostate, researchers said at the Society of Interventional Radiology annual scientific meeting in San Francisco.

Prostatic artery embolization may be an effective treatment for men suffering from symptoms of an enlarged prostate, researchers said at the Society of Interventional Radiology annual scientific meeting in San Francisco.

The minimally invasive option to surgery could serve as an alternative for BPH candidates who are unable to undergo a transurethral resection of the prostate.

“Interventional radiologists have used embolization, where a catheter is used to deliver tiny beads to block blood flow to a target area, for many years to treat uterine fibroids, on an outpatient basis, with very few complications,” said first author Francisco Cesar Carnevale, MD, PhD, of the University of São Paulo in Brazil. Applying the same principal to the prostate by embolizing or blocking the prostatic arteries was a natural progression, Dr. Carnevale said.

The study looked at results from 11 men (average age, 68.5 years) who suffered with acute urinary retention due to an enlarged prostate. All patients had urethral catheters and were waiting for surgery.

Performed under local anesthesia, the procedure introduced a 1-mm diameter microcatheter using resin microspheres to thread into the prostate arteries. An MRI was used to study the anatomy of the prostate.

At final follow-up, both ultrasound and MRI showed an overall 30% volume reduction in the prostate size. Overall clinical improvement in lower urinary tract symptoms was observed at the 1-year mark, and treated men reported a high degree of increased quality of life after treatment, the researchers said.

“I saw firsthand how these men responded to treatment,” said Ziv J. Haskal, MD, an interventional radiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, who was not involved in the study. “With the possibility of faster recovery-on an outpatient basis-and with no bladder catheters, reduced symptoms, improved urination and fewer potential side effects, prostatic artery embolization could signal a bold new change in accepted prostate therapy.”

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