Doctor talking to male patient

At University of Maryland Medical Center, our specialists use an FDA-approved interventional radiology procedure, prostate artery embolization (PAE), to treat an enlarged prostate, which is also called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).

This minimally invasive procedure blocks blood flow to the prostate, causing it to shrink and restore normal urination.

How Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) Works

In BPH, the enlarged prostate squeezes the urethra causing frequent and painful urination.

PAE is a safe, non-surgical procedure that can reduce the prostate size, relieve symptoms of BPH and improve your quality of life.

In an embolization procedure, we place tiny beads in the prostate arteries to block blood flow to the prostate gland. With blood flow stopped, the prostate shrinks and reduces pressure on the urethra.

During your procedure, the embolization material is threaded through the catheter, a small flexible tube inserted through a vein in your groin or wrist. The radiologist uses image-guiding technology like CT or fluoroscopy to place the material at the precise location.

Prostate Artery Embolization Side Effects

The side effects of PAE are minimal. You may have temporary post-procedure side effects such as pelvic pain and frequent or painful urination. Less common side effects include possible injury to your bladder or other pelvic organs.

Overall, prostate artery embolization has fewer risks and side effects than traditional open surgery, including sexual side effects or incontinence. After a year, many PAE patients report prostate shrinkage of 30 to 50 percent.

Other benefits include:

  • Faster recovery time
  • Outpatient procedure
  • Decrease pain and discomfort
  • Low risk of sexual side effects
  • Low risk of urinary incontinence
  • No retrograde ejaculation