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Prostate Artery Embolization

Prostate enlargement is a common condition in men over the age of 50. Known medically as benign prostatic hyperplasia, the condition causes symptoms such as poor urinary flow, frequent urination and incomplete bladder emptying.

While oral medications may relieve symptoms for some patients, not all get relief with medications alone. Traditionally, the go-to medical procedure for an enlarged prostate has been transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). However, the TURP procedure carries a risk of accidentally damaging the bladder, uretha or surrounding nerves, which can lead to sexual dysfunction or loss of bladder control. 

A Minimally Invasive Alternative to Prostate Surgery

Prostate artery embolization is a minimally invasive treatment for prostate enlargement proven to be safe and effective in eliminating or greatly reducing the symptoms of enlarged prostate without the potential complications of  traditional prostate surgery. The procedure has a lower risk of urinary incontinence and sexual side effects (retrograde ejaculation or erectile dysfunction), when compared with more invasive surgical procedures such as TURP.

Prostate artery embolization shrinks the prostate by treating its blood vessels. It is performed by an interventional radiologist, a doctor who uses X-rays and other advanced imaging to see inside the body and treat conditions without surgery.

The procedure is performed under light sedation and requires less than six hours at the hospital. Post-procedure side effects are minimal and typically last only one to three days.


An exam with an interventional radiologist can determine if you are a candidate for prostate artery embolization. Pre-procedure workup may include:

  • Urine test (urinalysis)
  • Digital rectal exam to help assess the size of your prostate.
  • In some cases, a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is done to help rule out prostate cancer.
  • An MRI or ultrasound of the prostate gland.


Prostate artery embolization is performed through a small catheter inserted by an interventional radiologist into the artery in the groin or forearm. Tiny particles are injected that plug up the artery, blocking blood flow. This is called embolization. The process is then repeated on the other side. The procedure can take anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on the location and size of the prostatic arteries.

Following this procedure the prostate will begin to shrink, relieving and improving symptoms usually within days of the procedure. Over a six- month period, the prostate will shrink by 20-40 percent, resulting in improved and less frequent urination.

To find out if you could be a candidate for prostate artery embolization, talk with your urologist or call (321) 841-8104 to schedule an appointment with an Orlando Health interventional urologist.