Pioneering procedure for common prostate condition offered by The London Clinic

The London Clinic is one of the first hospitals in the UK to offer prostate artery embolization (PAE), a new procedure for non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate, a very common condition in older men.

Dr Jocelyn Brookes

PAE has been available at The London Clinic since early 2018, providing relief for patients with lower urinary tract symptoms caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). NICE recommended the treatment for use in the NHS in April this year.

The advantage of PAE is that it can be done under local anesthetic as a day case, meaning patients can go home shortly afterwards without having to be admitted to hospital, unlike conventional prostate surgery that requires a longer stay in hospital. Most men are able to return to normal activities within 48 hours.

The prostate often enlarges with increasing age. As it grows it can press on the urethra, blocking the flow of urine from the bladder. This may cause bacteria to grow and develop into a lower urinary tract infection. Symptoms can occur in up to 30% of men older than 65 years.

PAE significantly reduces symptoms without the risk of complications (such as the risk of the loss of sexual function), risks and recovery typically associated with surgery. The procedure involves blocking the arteries that supply blood to the prostate, causing it to shrink. A catheter (thin plastic tube) is then inserted into an artery in the patient’s groin. Using an X-ray, the catheter is threaded into the prostate arteries (left and right). After the consultant has identified and visualized the prostate blood supply, they inject a fluid infused with micro-particles into these small arteries, blocking the blood supply to the enlarged prostate. Research has shown that the prostate shrinks, relieving the symptoms of BPH.

An increasing amount of men over 50 years are affected by benign prostatic hyperplasia and this results in many men having difficulty passing urine, often causing social embarrassment,”

says Dr Jocelyn Brookes, Consultant Endovascular Radiologist at The London Clinic.

Prostate artery embolization is a new treatment procedure that has been available at The London Clinic since early 2018, offering a non-invasive alternative to surgery without the risk of loss of sexual function that the previous surgical technique has. Professor Prokar Dasgupta, a world-renowned Consultant Urologist at The London Clinic, counsels each new patient for their suitability and I carry out the procedure as part of the combined, multi-disciplinary approach which is available to patients at The London Clinic,”

adds Dr Brookes.

Signs and symptoms of BPH include:

  • Problems passing urine, including difficulty starting the urine flow
  • A weak stream and dribbling after going to the toilet
  • Passing urine more frequently
  • Getting up at night to pass urine
  • Incontinence and leakage of urine
  • The feeling that the bladder is not emptying properly
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