Male Reproductive Health at Vascular and Interventional Partners
Have you been diagnosed with varicocele or benign prostatic hyperplasia? Were you prescribed countless medications? Did you undergo any number of treatments only to find little to no relief? Then you are probably a good candidate for one of our nonsurgical, catheter-based procedures performed in our clinic in Phoenix, AZ.
At Vascular and Interventional Partners, we specialize in Interventional Radiology (IR) and offer several treatment options for a wide range of conditions, including varicocele and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Our treatments are minimally invasive and performed using the latest technology and the most current equipment.
Varicocele embolization is an interventional radiology procedure used in the treatment of varicocele. Like all embolization procedures, it works by blocking blood flow to problem areas.
Varicocele is a condition where varicose veins develop in the scrotum. With varicocele, a network of veins called the pampiniform plexus becomes enlarged and occasionally painful. While varicocele usually does not cause any symptoms or result in serious problems, it is still the leading cause of male infertility. Symptoms of varicocele may include:
There are no drugs or medications to prevent or treat varicocele, unfortunately. Instead, men can manage their condition with pain medication, undergo surgery or choose varicocele embolization.
Varicocele embolization works by cutting off blood flow to the varicose veins with the help of embolic agents, which are synthetic and other materials that obstruct faulty blood vessels. Doctors usually use platinum (and other metal) coils as embolic agents during varicocele embolization. Once the affected veins have been blocked, healthy veins take on more blood flow, and blood no longer pools inside the damaged vessels, thus relieving swelling and pain.
The procedure is performed by specially trained interventional radiologists in our Phoenix, AZ clinic. During the procedure, your doctor will make a 3 mm incision, usually around the groin area. They will then place a catheter in the treatment site using x-ray image guidance. Once the catheter has reached the varicocele, your doctor releases the embolic agents to block blood flow to the swollen vessels.
The embolization takes less than an hour to complete. However, additional time is needed for preparation and recovery after the procedure. Since the procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis, you will most likely be able to return home on the same day of your treatment.
Most men can return to their day-to-day activities within two days following this procedure and strenuous exercising after 10 days. The success rate with this procedure is high — around 90 percent — which is the same as surgery (varicocelectomy).
Prostate Artery Embolization
Prostate artery embolization (PAE) is a minimally invasive, nonsurgical procedure for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
BPH is a relatively common male problem, with half of all men developing the condition by age 50 and almost all men having it by age 80. The condition is a benign (non-cancerous) enlargement of the prostate gland that can cause a wide range of symptoms:
- Frequent or nocturnal urination
- Slow urination or post-urination dribbling
- Urinary hesitancy (difficulty starting)
- Urinary urgency (sudden need to urinate)
- Pain with ejaculation or while urinating
- Change in the color/smell of urine
Most men with BPH do not require treatment and can manage their condition with medication. Men who experience serious problems due to BPH, on the other hand, can benefit from PAE.
During PAE, one of our specially trained interventional radiologists makes a small cut in your skin, usually around your groin area. They then insert a thin catheter through the cut and use x-ray image guidance to maneuver the catheter toward your prostate. Once the catheter has reached the prostate, the radiologist releases embolic agents to block blood in parts of the prostate.
Blocking blood flow to the prostate this way causes controlled tissue death and subsequent scarring and prostate shrinkage — sometimes to as much as 40 percent. With the prostate no longer putting pressure on the bladder and urethra, men see a significant improvement in their symptoms without needing to use a urinary catheter or developing complications.
PAE is usually performed on an outpatient basis. There is no need for either IV sedation or general anesthesia, which significantly decreases risks. Instead, you will be given a local anesthetic and mild to moderate sedatives to help you feel relaxed and to minimize your discomfort.
At Vascular and Interventional Partners, we know that male health needs to be taken seriously and that problems with the pampiniform plexus and prostate can interfere with a man’s quality of life. We help men find relief from varicocele and an enlarged prostate with varicocele embolization and prostate artery embolization procedures. To learn more about these procedures and find out if they are right for you, contact or call us today at (480) 435-9100.