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New Therapy for Enlarged Prostate May Bypass Unpleasant Side Effects
Date:3/29/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- A minimally invasive treatment for enlarged prostate that limits blood supply to the prostate seems to be just as effective as surgery but without the risk of debilitating side effects, such as impotence and urinary incontinence.

The treatment -- called prostatic artery embolization, or PAE -- is ready to be used in certain patients, namely those with a prostate larger than 60 cubic centimeters, "with severe lower urinary tract symptoms and a weakened urinary stream," said Dr. Joao Martins Pisco, lead author of a study slated to be presented March 29 at the annual meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology in Chicago.

But other experts aren't so sure.

Drugs are used to treat most patients with an enlarged prostate, with only about 10 percent qualifying for surgery to remove the entire gland, said Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

"Because medication is so effective, most of the patients that we treat surgically are in pretty bad shape," she added. And while this study showed some symptomatic improvement, it didn't have enough objective data to show that the new technique would surpass surgery, she said.

Benign prostate hyperplasia, also known as enlarged prostate, is a non-cancerous condition familiar to millions of aging males. The condition occurs when the prostate gland slowly enlarges and presses on the urethra, constricting the flow of urine.

Enlarged prostate is characterized by a host of unpleasant symptoms, including weak or slow urine flow, an urgent need to urinate frequently, incomplete bladder emptying and having to get up repeatedly at night to urinate.

The surgery for enlarged prostate -- transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP -- is used for men whose prostates are smaller than 60 to 80 cubic centimeters. The procedure is performed un
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