A new option for men with enlarged prostate

Men suffering with symptoms from an enlarged prostate could be offered a new type of nonsurgical treatment thanks to changes in NICE guidance.

NICE – the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – has updated its guidance for using Prostate Artery Embolisation (PAE) as a treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The prostate is a small walnut sized gland found only in men. It produces the fluid component of semen and grows naturally with age. Problems occur when the change in size puts pressure on the tubes that drain urine from the bladder.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the medical term used to describe a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate. Symptoms like needing to pass urine more frequently, trouble starting to urinate and loss of bladder control affect more than a third of men over the age of 50.

There are a number of current treatments for an enlarged prostate including medication or surgery. However, these treatments can have side effects and do not suit all patients.

PAE offers an alternative option. It blocks the blood supply to the prostate with small particles, which causes the prostate tissue to shrink and die. It can be performed under local anaesthetic, which will help patients who cannot tolerate general anaesthetic. And it can be done as a day case, which will mean the patient does not need to be admitted to hospital.

NICE first looked at PAE in 2013, but felt that more research was required to determine whether the procedure was effective and safe.

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