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More men with enlarged prostates turning to less invasive treatment

A less invasive treatment for enlarged prostates
A less invasive treatment for enlarged prostates 02:29

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Earlier this year, King Charles underwent a procedure for an enlarged prostate, which sparked interest in the extremely common condition among older men.

Rowe Winecoff of Edina is about to undergo treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH — a non-cancerous enlarged prostate. The growth of the gland puts pressure on the urethra, weakening the bladder.

"There's a little bit of nerves but it's a relatively simple procedure," Winecoff said. "For about 10 years I've had had some issues with urinating."

By the age of 50, half of all men will have the condition and the percentage increases with age.

There are multiple treatment options for BPH ranging from medications to surgery.

Golzarian and a team at the University of Minnesota Medical Center were the first in the U.S. to complete a less invasive option called Prostatic Artery Embolization in 2012.  

"Our technique is the only one that actually goes through arteries or to the wrist or to the groin," said Golzarian, co-founder and CEO of North Star Vascular and Interventional.  


PAE is performed completely inside the body. Golzarian and his team use imaging to guide very tiny catheters through the blood vessels to the treatment area.

Inside, particles are injected that plug up the artery, blocking the blood flow.

"By making the prostate softer, it reduces the pressure on the urethra, and so the patient can urinate better," Golzarian said.

Norman Munk of Minneapolis had the procedure at North Star in late March after suffering for over a decade. 

"I was getting up five, six, seven times a night having to go to the bathroom," Munk said. "I'm in and out in five hours. Light sedation, less side effects, less expensive and in some ways more effective. And there's no risk of sexual dysfunction."

Although PAE is FDA-approved, Munk struggled to get the treatment covered by insurance.

"The idiocy of that and the gatekeepers. If you go through Medicare, you can get it approved. If you have an advantage plan then you're working with gatekeepers," he said.

Munk and Golzarian are on a mission to ensure more men know that there are less-invasive ways to treat their BPH symptoms.

"It's really helping a lot of patients," Golzarian said.

"This will save lives as well, but certainly it'll make lives better for people," Munk said.

Not all patients are suitable candidates for PAE. Embolization is also being used to treat tumors, internal bleeding, uterine fibroids and even osteoarthritis.

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