Meanwhile, there is no size limitation for PAE, which requires only local anesthesia and also lowers the risk of other side effects, such as blood loss and retrograde ejaculation, which occurs when semen leaks into the bladder, researchers said. PAE can be an outpatient procedure as well.
For the procedure, a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery in the groin. The catheter delivers tiny "grains" to the arteries that lead to the prostate, which block blood flow and lead to shriveling of the gland.
In this study, PAE helped most of the 67 patients who underwent the procedure, according to the researchers, who noted that 66 men who had not responded to medications experienced improvements in symptoms as well as a reduction in prostate volume. After nine months, none had experienced sexual dysfunction and 25 percent still reported improvements.
However, the authors did not see as great an improvement in "urodynamic" results, such as improved flow rate of the urine, which would indicate how well the bladder and urethra are performing; in this area, the patients did not improve as much as those who underwent TURP surgery, they noted.
Another drawback is that few doctors are trained in PAE so far, said Pisco, chair of radiology at Hospital Pulido Valente and professor in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at New University of Lisbon in Portugal.
Other minimally invasive treatments for enlarged prostate that are currently available are less effective and have a greater risk of a need for reoperation, according to background materials that accompanied the study.
Dr. Franklin Lowe, associate director of urology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, said PAE was "unlikely" to be used much to treat enlarged prostate.
Current surgical procedures typically require no more than one night in the hospital and complications such as incontinence and impotence ar
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