Prostate Artery Embolisation (PAE)

Spire Southampton Hospital, Hampshire’s largest private hospital, is the only private hospital in the UK to provide this new non-surgical technique for the treatment of an enlarged and troublesome prostate by blocking off arteries that feed the gland causing it to shrink.

This procedure is performed by Dr Nigel Hacking, Consultant Interventional Radiologist, and his Interventional Radiologist colleague Dr Tim Bryant who introduced this novel treatment into their NHS practice in 2012. Previously the most common treatment option was an operation known as a TURP (trans urethral resection of the prostate), but this new technique exclusively provided by Dr Hacking in the UK does not involve surgery, therefore reducing your in-hospital stay and recovery time following treatment.  

Why might I need prostate artery embolisation? 

Through tests your Urologist and GP will have identified BPH (Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy) or an enlarged prostate, in particular the considerable symptoms it will be causing you. Medication is usually the first stage of treatment and historically if this did not improve things, then a TURP operation would have been indicated.

Now prostate artery embolisation (PAE) is available as an alternative, non-surgical treatment for an enlarged prostate. Your GP, Dr Hacking and the Urologists involved in your care will discuss if you are suitable for this new treatment. Dr Hacking will then discuss with you whether this treatment is suitable for you during a consultation appointment following a CT angiogram. Consultations can be arranged by contacting: 023 8091 4458 or  

What happens during a prostate artery embolisation?  

The procedure takes place in a catheter laboratory designed for specialist interventional procedures that require the use of x-rays. You will be laid on an x-ray table and can be given sedatives if required. Sterile drapes and equipment are used to keep everything clean. Access to the arteries of the prostate is through an artery in the groin. Local anaesthetic is used to numb the skin and a needle and wire are thread into the artery. A small sheath is then passed over the wire and the wire is withdrawn.

A catheter and smaller micro-catheter is then introduced into the artery via the sheath and placed into the correct position where the arteries supply the prostate. X-rays (angiograms and Dyna-CT) and special x-ray dye are used to identify and visualize the arteries that supply the prostate. Once the arteries that supply the prostate are identified, fluid containing hundreds of tiny particles is injected through the catheter into these small arteries. These tiny particles then block off the blood supply to the prostate. This is performed on both the right and left prostatic arteries.  

What happens after the procedure?  

The procedure will usually take 2-3 hours and you will be taken to recovery for a short while for routine observations. Once the recovery nurses are happy, you will be transferred back to the ward and lay in bed for a few hours. If you are suitable for a day case procedure, then you will be allowed home after 4-6 hours or you will be kept in overnight and discharged the following morning.

Once at home, you will be required to rest for 3-4 days and you can be prescribed painkillers if required. There are just two medium term studies of the results of just over 300 prostate artery embolisation procedures. Around 80% of men will gain symptomatic improvement after PAE with reduction in prostate volumes and an increase in urinary flow rates. As part of on-going research into PAE your symptom scores and quality of life measurements will be made using pre and post operative questionnaires. The complexity of finding difficult or small prostate arteries may lead to technical failures in around 10% of cases. In case of failure traditional TURP surgery may be offered.  

Paying for your treatment

Currently prostate artery embolisation is not routinely covered by insurers, but is available for self-pay patients.Both BUPA and Aviva have agreed to cover individual patients on a case by case basis and so it is worth enquiring about cover in your circumstances.

NICE have indicated that in the absence of enough robust evidence PAE should be performed in a research setting or as part of a National Registry to gain further evidence for its routine use in the NHS. Treatments carried out at Spire Southampton Hospital will be recorded as part of Dr Hacking’s ongoing research study and will be entered into the UK National Register once introduced in 2013.

If you would like more information on pricing then please contact us today on 023 80 91 4471 or complete the form on the right-hand side of this page.


Patient Story

"Tiny beads injected into my blood stopped my night-time toilet trips"
Ken Willet talks to the Daily Mail about how he used to need the loo up to 10 times a night and how things are already improving. Read more.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...

Call our Customer Service Adviser023 8091 4471

Dr Nigel Hacking, Consultant Interventional Radiologist at Spire Southampton Hospital

Find out more about Dr Nigel Hacking by reading his profile page.

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)