Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE) vs TURP

Get clarity on your prostate treatment options.
Patients learning about prostate artery embolization vs turp
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) has long been considered the ‘gold standard’ in enlarged prostate treatment, particularly amongst urologic surgeons. While TURP is undoubtedly effective in the hands of the right operator, several new and less invasive prostate therapies have emerged that may offer patients less trauma and faster recovery. One such therapy is prostate artery embolization (PAE), which provides symptomatic relief from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) without any major incisions or cuts.

In this quick review, the prostate specialists at ProVascularMD share what you need to know as a patient when comparing prostate artery embolization vs TURP. We focus specifically on patient-centered factors like invasiveness, recovery time, and cost to help you decide which procedure is the right fit for you. Read on to learn more.

Prostate artery embolization specialist Dr. Michael Lalezarian in Los Angeles, California

Prostate Specialist

Dr. Michael Lalezarian

Urinary symptoms? We can help you find relief.

Dr. Michael Lalezarian is a double-board certified Vascular Interventional Radiologist specializing in prostate artery embolization for benign prostate hyperplasia. He is a committed partner in the battle against life-limiting BPH.

5-Star prostate artery embolization treatment in Los Angeles
“I want to start by thanking Dr Lalezarian for everything. He has changed my life and my legs are no longer in pain. I have no words to thank you, and thank you to the girls for being so kind and helpful.”

Juan O, December 2023

Prostate Artery Embolization vs TURP: Key Features

Prostate Artery Embolization (PAE)

Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)

Invasiveness

Non-surgical; access through the prostate artery; no major obstructions or incisions

Surgical; access through the penis; prostate tissue removed by resection

Procedure Time

1-2 hours

60-90 minutes

Hospital Stay

No Hospital Stay

1-3 Day Hospital Stay

Recovery Time

1-2 Week Recovery

3-6 Week Recovery

Prostate Size

PAE can treat all sizes

Prostate volume must be between 30 ml and 80 ml for TURP

Complications

1% risk of major complications

2-10% risk of major complications, higher risk in men over age 65

Cost

Lower cost because of no hospital stay

Higher cost due to hospital expenses

BPH Symptom Relief in Los Angeles
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Prostate artery embolization procedure image
Radiology image of the prostate during a prostate artery embolization procedure.

PAE Procedure vs TURP Procedure

While both prostate artery embolization and TURP are used to treat BPH, they do so by very different methods. Recall that urinary symptoms occur in BPH because the enlarged prostate obstructs the bladder and/or the urinary tract. Prostate artery embolization works by shrinking the enlarged prostate, whereas TURP works by cutting away pieces of the enlarged prostate.

Prostate artery embolization involves the injection of micro-sized beads into the prostate artery. When injected, beads cause blood flow to the prostate to slow, causing the prostate to shrink. In turn, the shrinking prostate releases from the urinary tract, relieving urinary symptoms. Prostate artery embolization is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure. Rather than targeting the prostate directly, as is the case in TURP, a small catheter is inserted into your artery through a tiny puncture, usually in the groin. The catheter is then guided through your vascular system using imaging technology until it reaches the arteries that supply the prostate, where the beads are injected. Importantly, prostate artery embolization can treat any size prostate, and it does not at all preclude future prostate interventions should you require retreatment.

In contrast to PAE, TURP involves the direct removal of prostate tissue using a resectoscope. A Resectoscope is a metal tube with a light, a camera, and an electrically heated loop of wire at the tip. The resectoscope is inserted into the urethra of the penis to reach the prostate, where the heated wire cuts away at pieces of prostate tissue that are blocking urine flow. Pieces of the resected prostate are pushed into the bladder by injecting fluid, and a catheter is used to remove the pieces of tissue after resection is complete. In addition to how much more invasive it is than prostate artery embolization, another major limitation of TURP is that it is only indicated for prostates of a certain size, namely those between 30 ml and 80 ml.

PAE Recovery vs TURP Recovery

One of the greatest advantages of prostate artery embolization over TURP is the shorter recovery time. PAE is an outpatient procedure, meaning that patients will usually go home just 1-2 hours after their procedure. Healing after the procedure is also faster than TURP, with most patients making a full recovery 1-2 weeks following the procedure, and resuming all normal activities within roughly 10 days.

Recovery from TURP is a bit more complicated. Due to the invasive nature of the procedure, TURP requires catheterization for 24-48 hours after surgery before you’re able to urinate on your own. Healing is also delayed in comparison to PAE, with patients usually requiring 3-4 weeks post-op to reach full recovery. Even after recovering, TURP patients are advised to avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for up to 6 weeks following the procedure.

Prostate Artery Embolization vs TURP: Which Procedure Is Right For You?

Men have a LOT of options when it comes to BPH treatment, including several unique therapies that aren’t covered in this article. Patients often choose prostate artery embolization because it is less invasive than traditional surgery and less traumatic than other specialized interventions like TURP that target the prostate directly. Compared to other therapies, PAE provides minimal risk of sexual side effects, low risk of urinary incontinence, no hospital stay, quick recovery, and minimal downtime following the procedure.

For all of these benefits, we recommend prostate artery embolization to most of our BPH patients. Get in touch with us at ProVascularMD to learn more about your options, including PAE.

Prostate Artery Embolization in Los Angeles
See a Prostate Specialist
More Resources
BPH Treatment in Los Angeles, California
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) Treatment

Learn more about BPH symptoms, diagnostic methods, and treatment options.

Los Angeles Prostate Artery Embolization Specialist Dr. Michael Lalezarian
Prostate Artery Embolization Specialist in Los Angeles
Learn more about Los Angeles PAE Specialist Dr. Michael Lalezarian.

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