Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE)

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What can I do?

Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE)

Prostate artery embolization (PAE) is a new treatment option for men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate gland. This procedure can greatly reduce BPH symptoms.

Most often patients are discharged from the hospital three hours after the procedure, but sometimes it may be necessary to stay overnight.

Please note: If you were interested in participating in the clinical trial for PAE, that study is currently closed. However, the PAE procedure is currently performed at two Inova locations as outlined below.

Two Inova locations

PAE is available at Inova Alexandria Hospital and Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. If you have questions about this procedure, please contact us:

Frequently asked questions

What are the most common symptoms of an enlarged prostate?

  • Frequent urination at night
  • Frequent urination that often produces only a small amount of urine
  • Hesitant or interrupted urine stream
  • Leaking or dribbling urine
  • Sudden and urgent need to urinate
  • Weak urine stream
  • Feeling like the bladder is not completely empty after urinating
  • Occasional pain when urinating
  • Having to rush to the bathroom suddenly after the urge to urinate
  • Sometimes complete obstruction when severe

Read more about prostate disease in our online health encyclopedia arrow image

What can I expect during my evaluation for PAE?

Besides a history and physical examination, you will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire to evaluate the severity of your symptoms. After this, you will meet with the interventional radiologist who will discuss your treatment options and pre-procedure tests.  Patients will also need referral to urology if they do not have an existing urologist.

Click here to complete your online questionnaire arrow image

What tests may be needed prior to having the procedure?

An MRI or ultrasound of the prostate may be ordered as well as a short test to evaluate the rate of urine flow. A blood test is needed to insure a safe procedure.

How is the procedure performed?

During the procedure, a small, spaghetti-like catheter is placed via an artery in the right groin into the arteries that supply the prostate. Very small particles are injected into the prostate arteries to decrease blood supply to the prostate, thus reducing its size and symptoms.

Will I need to stay overnight in the hospital?

Most often patients are discharged from the hospital three hours after the procedure, but sometimes it may be necessary to stay overnight.

Will I need a foley catheter or catheter inserted via the penis?

It is routine practice to not place a catheter via the penis.

Do I need to have general anesthesia for the procedure?

Patients are given a sedative medication for the procedure, similar to that given for a colonoscopy which is often referred to as "twilight sleep." There is no need for general anesthesia. The procedure is not considered painful and some patients elect to have no sedation.

What are the results from the procedure so far?

Results are very promising with greater than 90 percent of patients seeing extreme improvement. Approximately 7 percent of patients see moderate improvement and 1 to 2 percent may see no improvement.

Can the procedure be repeated if my symptoms return?


before and after pictures