Prostatic artery embolization for benign prostatic obstruction: assessment of safety and efficacy

World J Urol. 2018 Apr;36(4):575-584. doi: 10.1007/s00345-018-2220-z. Epub 2018 Feb 14.


Purpose: Prostatic artery embolization (PAE) has seen a recent increase in interest as a treatment for men with benign prostatic obstruction (BPO). The appeal of this intervention lies in reported reduction in morbidity and its minimally invasive nature. The purpose of this review is to assess the safety and efficacy of PAE as a new treatment in BPO and explore risks surrounding its performance.

Methods: A review of the literature was performed. Medical databases searched included PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases, limited to English, peer-reviewed articles. Search terms included prostatic artery embolization, lower urinary tracts symptoms, minimally invasive therapies, interventional radiology prostate, and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Articles were screened by two independent reviewers for content on development, methods, outcomes, and complications of PAE.

Results: Suitability of patients to undergo PAE depends on review of patient history, pre-procedure visualisation of appropriate vascular anatomy and clinical parameters. Despite this selection of candidates favourable for procedural success, PAE is not without risk of complications, some of which can significantly affect patient quality of life.

Conclusions: Although initial findings show promise regarding safety and efficacy of PAE in improving symptom and quality-of-life scores, further investigation is required to establish durability of effect and the appropriate use of this experimental modality. There is currently limited robust evidence for the beneficial outcomes of PAE. Long-term follow-up studies will add to the evidence base to help further assess the feasibility of this procedure as an alternative to TURP.

Keywords: Benign prostatic hyperplasia; Interventional radiology prostate; Lower urinary tracts symptoms; Minimally invasive therapies; Prostatic artery embolization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteries
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / adverse effects
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostate / blood supply*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia* / complications
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia* / therapy
  • Prostatism / therapy*
  • Risk Adjustment
  • Treatment Outcome