For prostate artery embolization (PAE), size does matter! In fact, smaller is better! But what are we talking about here?
We are talking about the size of the beads! That’s right. The embolization beads that are inserted into the prostatic artery to block its blood flow. Although the exact size is still up for debate, most studies recommend smaller beads than typically used for other types of embolization.
Prostate artery embolization, also known as PAE, is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that treats an enlarged prostate by blocking its blood flow. By doing so, it shrinks the prostate. This condition of an enlarged prostate is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
The PAE procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist. This type of physician is sub-specialized in image-guided procedures that use X-rays, tiny catheters and other microtools.
There are many types of products used in embolization. These include coils (metallic springs), medical-grade glues, spherical beads, non-spherical particles, plugs and foam. An experienced vascular and interventional radiologist understands these products, and can choose the correct one(s) to use in a given application.
During a PAE procedure, a tiny catheter is advanced into the artery that supplies blood to the prostate. Small beads are then inserted into the artery until there is complete blockage of blood flow.
Our practice uses Embozene microspheres. While there are other cheaper products, at CVI we do not cut corners and believe in using the best products for our patients. This product is favorable, as the beads are more accurately sized than others, which allows for consistent results. In 2018, the FDA approved the use of Embozene microspheres in the prostate artery embolization (PAE) procedure to treat symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).