Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE)

What is prostatic artery embolization (PAE) for BPH?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is another term for an enlarged prostate, a condition that affects many older men. BPH is often accompanied by lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), such as difficulty urinating or needing to urinate more frequently. Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE) is a new, minimally invasivetherapy to treat BPH. 


If You Have BPH, You Have Options

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or a benign enlarged prostate, can really affect your quality of life. What’s more, current treatments can be invasive and may have side effects such as urinary or sexual dysfunction.

What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate gland. Normally the size of a walnut, the prostate gland sits below the bladder and surrounds the urethra (the tube that moves urine from the bladder out of the body).

BPH is not cancer and it does not raise your risk for prostate cancer.

Who is at risk?

The likelihood of developing an enlarged prostate increases with age. More than 50% of all men in their 60s and as many as 90% aged 70-89 years old have some symptoms of BPH.

What does the research say?

  • The risk of BPH increases with age after 40, with more than 50% of men in their 60s reporting prostate problems

  • Black and Hispanic men are at a higher risk

  • BPH runs in the family. Men with male relatives who have enlarged prostates are more at risk for developing symptoms1

  • Conditions associated with heart disease, like diabetes, are also linked to BPH1

  • Obesity increases the risk of BPH, while exercise has been shown to lower your risk

Common Symptoms

When you have benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the prostate gland gets bigger and may compress the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder and then out of the body). As this happens, the bladder wall becomes thickened, irritable, and begins to contract even when it contains small amounts of urine. The enlarged prostate can also push up against the bladder.


BPH can lead to lower urinary tract symptoms such as:

  • An urgent need to urinate

  • Increased frequency of urination—especially at night (nocturia)

  • Inability to urinate or straining while urinating

  • Weak urine stream

  • A urine stream that starts and stops (intermittently)

  • Unable to empty your bladder completely

  • Dribbling at the end of urinating

If you’re experiencing symptoms of BPH—and are finding they interfere with normal sleeping patterns, daily activities, or maintaining your quality of life—contact your interventional radiologist.

Left untreated, BPH could lead to health complications such as kidney stones, infection, lack of bladder control (neurogenic bladder), and complete bladder outlet obstruction or blockage.

If you and your healthcare provider determine that you have benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), it’s a good idea to discuss the various treatment options available, including prostatic artery embolization (PAE).

PAE Treatment

PAE is usually performed as an outpatient procedure and no general anesthesia is required. During the PAE procedure, also known as prostatic artery embolization, you’re given a mild sedative, but remain awake.

The procedure begins with a tiny incision in your upper thigh or wrist to gain access to your arterial system.  Using specialized X-ray equipment, a doctor called an Interventional Radiologist (IR) guides a catheter (a small hollow tube) to the vessels that supply blood to your prostate.

Once the IR reaches this location, embolic material (small particles about the size of a grain of sand) is injected through the catheter and into these blood vessels, decreasing blood flow to your prostate. The IR then repositions the catheter in order to treat the other side of your prostate.  Depriving the prostate of oxygenated blood will cause it to shrink, thereby improving your urinary symptoms.

When the IR has completed embolization of the prostatic arteries, the catheter is gently removed. The entire PAE treatment can typically take anywhere from one to four hours to perform.

MIMIT has lead the industry in a minimally invasive, state-of-the-art, non-surgical alternative for PAE. 

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  1. Patel, N. D., & Parsons, J. K. (2014). Epidemiology and etiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia and bladder outlet obstruction. Indian Journal of Urology, 30(2): 170-176. doi: 10.4103/0970-1591.126900

  2. Krista, A. R., Arnold, K. B., Schenk, J. M., Neuhouser, M. L., Weiss, N., Goodman, P., Antvelink, C. M., Penson, D. F., & Thompson, I. M. (2007). Race/ethnicity, obesity, health related behaviors and the risk of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia: results from the prostate cancer prevention trial. The Journal of Urology, 177(4): 1395-1400

  3. Parsons, J. K., Sarma, A. V., McVary, K., & Wei, J. T. (2013). Obesity and benign prostatic hyperplasia: clinical connections, emerging etiological paradigms and future directions. The Journal of Urology, 189(1): S102-S106. doi: