Prostate artery embolisation gains backing

New treatment guidance is released today for benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has updated its previous guidance to include the use of prostate artery embolisation as a treatment.

The procedure, performed under local anaesthetic, uses small particles blocking the blood supply to the prostate, causing the prostate tissue to shrink and die.

Research carried out by the British Society of Interventional Radiology and the British Association of Urological Surgeons since 2013 demonstrates that the procedure is effective and safe, NICE says. It is deemed to provide "a clinically and statistically significant improvement in symptoms and quality of life for men with enlarged prostate.”

NICE now recommend that prostate artery embolisation can be given, carried out by an interventional radiologist with specific training.

Radiologist Dr Nigel Hacking of University Hospital Southampton, UK, says: "Results from the study show prostate artery embolisation can help large numbers of men suffering with the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. It is a particularly good option for men who are not yet ready to undergo more invasive prostate surgery.

"Maintaining sexual function and fertility is one of its main strengths. I hope, with NICE’s recommendations released today, that more centres will be able to introduce prostate artery embolisation services in the not too distant future."

Professor Kevin Harris of NICE stated: "The availability of this procedure could make a real difference to the lives of men up and down the country."

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