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Prostrate Artery Embolization vs. Traditional BPH Treatment: Which is better?

Prostrate Artery Embolization vs. Traditional BPH Treatment: Which is better?

As men age, they become more susceptible to developing an enlarged prostate, known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). BPH affects up to 90% of men over 70, and it's estimated that this condition impacts more than 40 million men in the United States alone.


While traditional treatment options such as medication and surgery have been available for decades, a newer alternative called Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) has recently gained popularity. This article will explore the differences between prostate artery embolization and traditional BPH treatments.


What is Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE)?


A minimally invasive technique called Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) is used to treat the signs and symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

  • A tiny catheter is introduced during prostate embolization through a blood vessel in the groin and directed to the arteries supplying the prostate gland with blood. 
  • The prostate is then injected with tiny particles that obstruct the arteries leading to it and cause it to contract. This lessens T such as frequent urination, urgency, and insufficient bladder emptying.
  •  For treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), PAE has been proven to be a safe and effective alternative to surgery, especially in men who are not suitable for surgery or prefer a less intrusive method.


What are Traditional BPH Treatments?


Traditional BPH treatments include:  

  • Medication, minimally invasive procedures, and surgery. Medications such as alpha-blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors can help to relieve symptoms by relaxing muscles in the prostate and reducing its size. 
  • Minimally invasive procedures such as transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT) and transurethral needle ablation (TUNA) use heat to destroy excess prostate tissue. 
  • Surgery, such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and open prostatectomy, involves removing portions of the prostate gland to alleviate urinary symptoms. 


While these treatments have been effective for many men, they also carry potential risks and complications, including sexual dysfunction, incontinence, and bleeding. Discussing the risks and benefits of each traditional treatment option with a urologist or other qualified medical professional is important.


Difference between PSE and Traditional BPH treatments


Treatment Options Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) Traditional BPH Treatments
Procedure Type Prostate Artery Embolization usually involves minimally invasive procedures with lower risks of complications. BPH treatment involves minimal invasion along with medication, procedures and surgery.
Anesthesia required For prostate embolization can be performed with local anaesthesia. BPH treatments are generally performed with General Anesthesia
Recovery Time Patients treated with PAE require a short recovery time. BPH Treatment takes a long time for a patient to recover.
Pain and Discomfort Pain and discomfort in Prostate Artery Embolization (procedures are less. This procedure causes more pain and discomfort.
Effectiveness The overall lifestyle improvement is much better with this treatment option. The lifestyle improvement varies by treatment option.
Sexual Dysfunction Sexual dysfunction is lesser in terms of PAE treatment. Sexual dysfunction is observed more often in BPH treatment
Incontinence Incontinence is lesser in the Prostate Artery Embolization procedure. There is more incontinence in this procedure.
Bleeding There is less blood loss in PAE.
There is
more blood loss in BPH treatment.
Potential Side Effects This treatment option has minimal side effects, such as urinary tract infections and difficulty urinating blood in the urine. There are side effects observed with this treatment option, such as sexual dysfunction, incontinence, and bleeding.
Cost The cost of the Embolization treatment is comparatively lower. The cost of BPH treatment options varies by treatment type.


Choosing the Right Treatment


There are a few key things to consider when choosing between Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) and conventional BPH therapies, which include: 

  • Not all patients are candidate for PAE procedure. Your Urologist & Vascular Specialist will decide best option for you.
  • The choice between traditional BPH treatment and prostate artery embolization (PAE) depends on several variables, including the severity of the symptoms, the size of the prostate gland, medical history, and personal preferences.
  • PAE is a minimally invasive procedure with faster recovery and fewer risks than other BPH therapies. Embolization treatment might be a better choice for people who prefer a quicker recovery and want to avoid potential sexual and urogenital side effects associated with standard treatments.
  • Although traditional BPH therapies like drugs and surgery have a history of success, they have a higher risk of side effects like incontinence and sexual dysfunction.
  • Modifying one's lifestyle, such as reducing alcohol and caffeine intake or avoiding fluids before bed, can help control mild BPH symptoms.
  • For mild to moderate symptoms, medications and minimally invasive techniques like prostate artery embolization may be helpful; for more severe problems, surgery may be required.
  • Conventional treatments might be better for people more severe obstructive symptoms. 
  • Age plays a significant role in determining the best BPH treatment. Younger people may tolerate the drug's side effects, but older patients may be more vulnerable to complications after surgery.
  • Patients with several medical illnesses or those on multiple medications should also talk with their healthcare provider about possible therapies because some of them might interact with pre-existing disorders or medications.
  • The patient's comfort and pleasure with the selected treatment might impact their quality of life. Hence patient preference is an important issue to take into account. Although it may have a lower success rate, some patients prefer a less invasive surgery. In contrast, others may be ready to put up with additional side effects if it increases their chances of a successful outcome.
  • Lastly, regularly following up with a doctor is critical to assess how well your selected treatment works and make any necessary adjustments. To maintain effectiveness, the chosen treatment may need to be adjusted if BPH symptoms vary over time.




Traditional BPH therapies and prostate artery embolization (PAE) have specific benefits. While conventional therapies have been the norm for a long time and have been successful for many people, PAE provides a minimally invasive alternative that may produce comparable or superior results for certain patients. To determine the appropriate course of treatment based on each patient's unique health history, symptoms, and preferences, patients should visit the Vascular department and talk with a trained Vascular Endovascular Specialist DR ABCD.

Dr. Virender K Sheorain
Peripheral Vascular and Endovascular Sciences
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