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Prostate Artery Embolization

Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) is a minimally invasive treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia – or BPH – is a fairly common condition as men age. Another term for BPH is prostate gland enlargement. BPH can lead to troublesome urinary symptoms, as well as bladder, urinary tract, or kidney problems.

Signs and symptoms of BPH may include:

  • Difficulty starting a urination stream
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Having to urinate frequently at night
  • Increased urinary frequency or urgency
  • Unable to completely empty the bladder
  • Unable to urinate
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Urine that is pink in color due to the presence of blood
  • Urine stream that is weak, or stops and starts

In the U.S., a surprisingly high number of men have an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

  • 50% of men over age 50
  • 70% of men age 60-69
  • 80% of men age 70+

If you’re among them, the University of Miami Health System has answers. UHealth has one of the few interventional radiologists in the U.S. offering PAE.

Prostate Artery Embolization

Prostatic artery embolization is performed through a small puncture in the wrist or the groin. A catheter is inserted through the artery and advanced towards the prostate. Once the catheter is positioned in the artery supplying blood to the prostate, tiny particles are injected that are lodged in the tiny branches within the prostate, blocking blood flow. The blockage of these branches is called embolization. The procedure is then repeated on the other side of the prostate. The procedure can take anywhere from 1-2.5 hours, depending on the location and size of the prostatic arteries. Most men will not feel any pain during the procedure except minor pinch at the access point in wrist or groin. Mild sedatives (like Versed and Fentanyl) are used to alleviate anxiety, however patients are awake during the procedure.

Why Choose UHealth?

UHealth - A Leader in Prostate Artery Embolization: The Department of Interventional Radiology at UHeatlh has two of the world’s most experienced physicians offering Prostate Artery Embolization, a minimally invasive treatment for BPH. PAE provides long lasting relief for urinary problems from BPH. PAE can be used in variety of BPH presentations including, very enlarged prostate glands (over 80 gms)(1,2), urinary retention (inability to urinate)(3) and hematuria (bleeding from enlarged prostate)(4). In addition, PAE is also safer and easier on the patients who have failed prior traditional BPH treatments, including transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), Greenlight laser, Urolift or Rezum.

Innovative, expert multidisciplinary approach to urology care: Our interventional radiologists work in collaboration with nationally and internationally recognized experts in field of Urology. We use the latest research and the least invasive procedures to help you feel better and recover more quickly. Our multidisciplinary team will help design a personalized treatment plan to give you the best possible results.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

What is an Enlarged Prostate?

An enlarged prostate gland, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a common condition in older men. This condition can cause problems with urination, like having to urinate frequently.

Advantages of PAE:

PAE offers a quick, effective return to normal urinary function. Compared to the other surgical treatment modality, PAE provides many benefits:

  • No incisions
  • No hospital stay – out patient procedure
  • 1 week recovery
  • No catheter use needed (for most patients)
  • No sexual side effects. No risk of Erectile dysfunction or retrograde ejaculation.
  • No risk of incontinence leakage surrounding healthy tissue.
  • Minimal pain and swelling.
  • Lower risk of erectile dysfunction.
  • Can be performed on moderate or large size prostate gland with no upper size limit.
  • PSA counts generally drop to very low levels after PAE.
  • Less than 1% complication rate.

What to Expect

Your doctor may tell you not to eat or take certain medications, like aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) before your procedure. Always tell your doctor what medicines you are taking, including vitamins or herbs.

For this procedure, you will be under general sedation or anesthesia, meaning you are asleep for the procedure. Your doctor will also apply a local anesthetic to the prostate area so you are numb and will not feel any discomfort.

Once you are asleep, your doctor will make an incision in your femoral artery in your upper thigh. They will insert a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) through the incision. Using X-ray guidance, they will move the catheter into the arteries that feed the prostate. They will then insert embolic agents through the catheter and into the arteries. Embolic agents are materials that block arteries, cutting off the blood flow to the prostate. 

Your doctor then removes the catheter and applies a bandage or dressing to the incision site. The procedure may take between two and four hours. You may go home a few hours after your procedure (outpatient procedure) and resume normal activities within a few days. With less blood flow, the prostate should begin to shrink within a few weeks. About 90 percent of patients see extreme improvement in BPH symptoms.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • Doctor's Healthcare Plan
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • Florida Community Care (FCC)
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care