Researchers at the Inova Alexandria Hospital in Virginia discovered interventional radiology as a new treatment option for men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non cancerous condition that occurs when the prostate is enlarged. Compared to other options, this new treatment is less invasive with less adverse effects.
In a retrospective study presented during the Society of Interventional Radiology 40th Annual Scientific Meeting, the research team used prostate artery embolization (PAE) an interventional radiology treatment and considerably improved patient symptoms.
“As health care moves toward more patient-centered care, it’s critical that interventional radiologists, in collaboration with urologists, are able to provide BPH patients with a relatively painless, outpatient procedure,” said Sandeep Bagla, M.D., the study’s lead researcher and an interventional radiologist at Inova Alexandria Hospital in Virginia. “This innovative treatment offers less risk, less pain and less recovery time than traditional surgery, and we are hopeful that further research will confirm it to be an effective therapy for BPH,” he added.
The research team categorized 78 patients with BPH who underwent PAE in 3 groups: prostate size smaller than 50 cubic centimeters, prostate size of 50 to 80 cubic centimeters and prostate size greater than 80 cubic centimeters. To assess if PAE was effective, the team assessed patients after treatment at one, three and six months.
Results revealed that 96% of cases treated were successful and after treatment, there was an improvement in symptoms and in perceived quality of life in all groups. Results also showed that there were no adverse effects or changes in sexual function.
“Many men have benign prostatic hyperplasia that cannot be treated by traditional methods, such as when the BPH is smaller than 50 cubic centimeters or larger than 80 cubic centimeters,” said Dr. Bagla. “Prostate artery embolization offers these patients an effective treatment that results in reduced risk of bleeding, urinary incontinence or impotence, compared to other BPH therapies, offering patients a better quality of life,” he added.
However, researchers noted that more studies are necessary to confirm the stability of these findings, specially in prospective randomized controlled trials. In the United States, BPH is estimated to affect more than 50% of men aged over 60 years and more than 80% of men aged over 80 years.
PAE is a non-surgical way of treating an enlarged and troublesome prostate by blocking off the arteries that feed the gland making it shrink. The operation is technically challenging, said Dr. Bagla according in the news release. It is performed by an interventional radiologist, rather than a surgeon, and is an alternative to a TURP (trans urethral resection of prostate) operation.