The benign enlarged prostate disease is a problem that occurs in over 50% of men older than 50 years of age.
Initially, the condition is difficult to detect as symptoms have not started despite the enlargement of the prostate. As it progresses, however, a whole range of problems begins to develop. The most obvious one is the impact on urination which becomes more difficult and increases in frequency.
These symptoms, in many cases, make for a change in lifestyle. Simply tolerating the condition is not possible in the long run as the symptoms worsen to an unmanageable level. When the enlargement is such that the patient cannot urinate without extreme pain due to retention of urine, rapid relief is essential to prevent damage to the bladder and the kidneys.
Catheterization, which is the procedure whereby a tube is passed up the penis into the bladder, is required to relieve the obstruction and empty the bladder.This is just an emergency procedure which is conducted for immediate relief. The procedure is followed by an important decision regarding how to prevent a recurrence.
Traditionally the only long-term treatment option was surgical and required hospitalization, an anaesthetic and either removal of part of the prostate (by inserting a fibre optic instrument through the penis) or by a surgical incision and complete removal. Both procedures have lengthy recovery times and patients are likely to experience pain post-surgery.
As technology and instrumentation have progressed, a new way of treating the problem has developed. This innovative and minimally invasive procedure is called Prostate Artery Embolization and has provided enlarged prostate sufferers with an alternative remedy. A fine tube is inserted into the arteries supplying the prostate and tiny pellets are put into the vessels blocking the arteries, “starving” the prostate of nourishment. The prostate shrinks and the symptoms disappear. It is most unlikely to recur but if that should happen the procedure can be repeated.
The patient does not have an anaesthetic, he is hospitalized, at most for 24 hours, often going home on the same day. There is no post-operation pain and the recovery time is a few days.
Whether traditional surgery or prostate artery embolization, to choose the right treatment option for your particular symptoms, discuss your condition with your urologist who will assist you in making an informed decision.