HealthWatch: Shrinking Prostates Without Surgery

Published 06/19 2014 05:26PM

Updated 06/24 2014 07:04PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia-or BPH for short-affects about half of men over age 60. It happens when the prostate becomes enlarged and often results in a host of unpleasant symptoms. Until now, drugs and invasive surgeries were the only solutions.

Ron Simmons spends most of his free time on the back of his Harley.

But a few months ago, long rides were too painful for this 68-year-old.

"It was uncomfortable. It wasn't enjoyable," Simmons told Ivanhoe.

Simmons has BPH an enlarged prostate.

"Most of my problems were going to the bathroom. You know, trying to urinate, that was difficult," Simmons said.

Medications stopped working and the only other option was an invasive surgery to cut or ablate the prostate. It could cause side effects like sexual dysfunction or urinary incontinence.

Georgetown Dr. James Spies, Radiologist, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital,

offered Simmons something new a non-surgical procedure called prostatic artery embolization.

"We put a catheter, a very thin tube into the artery that feeds the prostate gland," Dr. Spies explains.

Then, doctors inject tiny beads-called microspheres-in the arteries surrounding the prostate to block its blood supply.

"It decreases the size of the prostate and more importantly relieves the obstruction of urinary flow," Dr. Spies said.

Simmons was just the second patient at Georgetown to have the procedure. The relief was immediate and he's even planning a 10-thousand- mile ride this summer!

"There's so many more things I can do today because of that prostate," Simmons said.

For the clinical trial, patients have to have a prostate between 50 and 100 grams and be between ages 50 and 90 years old. Dr. Spies also stresses that this is not a treatment for prostate cancer-only an enlarged prostate.





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