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BPH? Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) is an Alternative to Surgery

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition in men over 50 years old. The symptoms of BPH result from overgrowth of the prostate gland, which is an organ that surrounds the male urethra near the bladder. Enlargement of this gland constricts the urethra, making it more difficult for many men to urinate as they age. Some men may also experience sudden urges to urinate, frequent urination at night, or the sensation of not being able to empty the bladder completely.

While medications may improve BPH symptoms for many men, not all patients respond. Individuals who do not improve on medications or cannot tolerate their side effects are often counseled to undergo surgery. Surgical procedures, such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), are effective but may be associated with sexual dysfunction and urinary incontinence.  At UCSF, we work in a multidisciplinary fashion with our urologists to determine the most appropriate treatment for every patient.

Prostate artery embolization (PAE) uses a different approach than the available surgical procedures. Using X-ray imaging for guidance, an interventional radiologist implants an agent into the arteries of the prostate that reduces blood flow to the gland. Over time, the prostate softens and shrinks, resulting in relief of symptoms for a large number of men. Sexual dysfunction and urinary incontinence are not typically seen after PAE. 
Ryan Kohlbrenner Leads the PAE Team

Dr. Kohlbrenner is an assistant professor of Clinical Radiology, specializing in Interventional Radiology. In addition to his expertise in prostate artery embolization, he performs ablation procedures to treat small cancers of the kidney. 

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The Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the 
University of California, San Francisco, is a leading health sciences center  focused on serving patients, conducting research,  and training the  next generation of radiologists. 

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