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Prostate artery embolisation for benign prostatic hypertrophy BPH

This is guideline from NICE advises that prostate artery embolisation can be used as a treatment for lower urinary tract symptoms association with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). This came out in Apr 18.

Obviously we won't be doing this, but as it has been in the news and patients may come in and ask about it, I thought it worth doing a bit on it.

What does it involve?

It is done under local anaesthetic and under x-ray guidance. Catheters are inserted through the femoral artery and into the prostatic arteries. Microparticles are injected, which cause embolisation of the artery. This reduces the blood supply to the prostate, which causes it to necrose and shrink.

Why is prostate artery embolisation beneficial?

  • Day-case procedure.
  • Avoids a GA.
  • Fewer complications than other forms of surgery.

What are the side-effects of prostate artery embolisation?

This list is not exhaustive.

  • Pelvic pain lasting up to 3d is common.
  • It uses extensive imaging and hence radiation exposure.
  • There is quite a high rate of urinary retention.

I’m a freelance GP locum in Winchester & Southampton.

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