Prostate Artery Embolization: A Minimally Invasive Treatment for Enlarged Prostate

Prostate artery embolization is a new, innovative, nonsurgical treatment option for men with urinary tract symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate. In clinical studies this procedure has demonstrated excellent outcomes with low risk.

Enlarged Prostate

A medical illustration of prostate artery embolization.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

The prostate is a gland located just below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the bladder. As a man ages, the prostate enlarges and often begins to press against the urethra, reducing urine flow. For some men, the reduction in the flow of urine can be significant. Some symptoms include:

  • Frequent and at times urgent need to urinate
  • Increased frequency of urination at night
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder

More severe symptoms include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Inability to urinate
  • Blood in the urine

What Is Prostate Artery Embolization?

Prostate artery embolization (PAE) is a nonsurgical, minimally invasive treatment. This procedure blocks blood flow to the prostate, causing it to shrink. During the procedure, our radiologists use X-ray imaging to accurately guide the delivery of the PAE treatment to the prostate.

At Cedars-Sinai, PAE is performed by an interventional radiologist—a doctor who is fellowship-trained in the subspecialty of image-guided procedures.

  • During the procedure, a catheter (a narrow tube) is inserted through the groin or wrist. Our interventional radiologist uses X-ray imaging to guide this catheter into the prostate.
  • Once the radiologist has confirmed that the catheter is in the correct position, tiny beads are sent through the catheter and placed inside the arteries leading to the prostate.
  • The beads restrict blood flow to the prostate and cause it to shrink.
  • We perform this procedure under “twilight” sedation. This form of sedation allows most patients to go home the same day as the procedure.
Imaging showing the prostate artery embolization procedure.

Above: Prostate artery embolization procedure. Prostate artery embolization is a new, minimally invasive procedure that we perform for men with severe lower urinary tract obstructive symptoms from benign prostatic hyperplasia. The procedure involves injecting tiny, inert particles into the right and left prostate arteries in order to starve the prostate from blood flow, which causes it to shrink. (Arrow pointing to the left prostate artery, which arises from the anterior division of the internal iliac artery.)

Imaging showing selective arteriogram of the left prostate artery and opacification of the left hemi-prostate.

Above: Imaging showing selective arteriogram of the left prostate artery and opacification of the left hemi-prostate.

After The PAE Procedure

  • PAE is an outpatient procedure, so most patients go home the same day. After the procedure you will be followed closely for several hours by our healthcare team.

Advantages Of PAE

  • Minimal risk of sexual side effects
  • Low risk of urinary incontinence
  • This is an outpatient procedure, and most men are discharged the same day
  • Quick recovery, minimal downtime

Are You A Candidate?

This nonsurgical treatment is for men with enlarged prostates who have tried other therapies and want or need to avoid more invasive surgery.

  • If you have urinary tract symptoms such as frequent urination or an inability to empty the bladder.
  • If you have tried medication for six months or more without relief of symptoms, or if medication caused significant side effects.
  • If you have been screened for prostate cancer risk.

If you are considering this procedure, our interventional radiologist will meet with you to review your medical history and imaging studies. Together, we will determine whether PAE is right for you.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, please call: