After a prostate artery embolization, now what?
Prostate artery embolization (PAE) shrinks the prostate gland by starving it of the majority of its blood supply. The size reduction occurs over months and results from a complicated process on a cellular level versus surgical resections. Are you wondering what to expect after a prostate artery embolization? Below, highlight the days, weeks and months following your procedure.
The first few days after a prostate artery embolization
Immediately after PAE, almost all men feel nothing. Beginning the evening of the PAE, some men will experience symptoms that are like a urinary tract infection. This has been given the name post-PAE syndrome. These can be any combination of stinging during urination, increased urinary frequency with smaller volumes, discoloration and blood-tinged urine. Bladder spasms can occur in some men. Men with particularly enlarged prostates can have pelvic pain, fever, and fatigue, which are typical side effects of large territory embolization. Urinary symptoms of an enlarged prostate, such as a weak stream, can worsen for a few days, as well. All these symptoms are generally well controlled with medications and quickly resolve.
For the first month
After the initial symptoms subside, patients generally return to normal. At around 14 days, patients should notice that the strength of their urine stream is improving. It should keep improving gradually for several more weeks. Other symptoms, such as urgency, urinating frequency and nighttime urination, should also improve. These improvements happen as the bladder can be better emptied. If a patient feels much better after 4 weeks, we typically discontinue alpha-blockers, such as tamsulosin.
Then, in months 2 and 3, after a prostate artery embolization
As urination gets easier, the bladder will adjust to the improved flow. In most cases, the bladder wall thickens over time because the bladder muscles must work hard to push urine past the prostate gland. Once the prostate is no longer obstructing, those muscles can become less thick and more pliable or elastic. This results in a larger storage capacity and less urgency when voiding. This is why it can take a full 3 months or so to feel the full effect of a PAE.
Our Austin interventional radiologist provides cutting-edge prostate treatment
If you want more information regarding prostate artery embolization and would like to speak with our interventional radiologist in Austin, Texas, please contact us. We have treated hundreds of patients and have the minimally invasive skills to treat your enlarged prostate gland.