An Arterial Alternative

Painless catheter procedure shrinks enlarged prostate, eliminates need for medication.

Wayne Wyles spent more than 50 years of his life in real estate. During that time, he worked in several different phases of the business, including sales, management and franchising. Wayne’s roots are in construction, and from there his career in real estate evolved.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Wayne Wyles

“My father was a homebuilder, so I grew up with a hammer in my hand,” Wayne, 80, shares. “From the time I was old enough, I was on the job. I stayed on the job through college, but my dad said, I want you to go into real estate. They make all the money; the builders take all the risk. So he started gently pushing me out the door.

“While in school, I worked on building jobs during the week, then on weekends I hosted open houses. I actually sold my first house when I was 19 years old. I officially got my real estate license when I was 21. I remained in the real estate business my entire working life.

“I’m now happily retired. We have a home in the mountains just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, and a villa in Florida. We go back and forth.”

Unfortunately, Wayne suffered with back issues during most of his career and into his retirement. He experienced long-term back pain that affected his quality of life. A few years ago, while the snowbird was in Florida, he broke down and visited a physician for treatment.

“Someone recommended a doctor in Indialantic, across the harbor from us,” Wayne recalls. “The doctor performed an ablation, where they go into your back joints and kill the nerve endings at the site of your pain. I had good luck with that.

“Last fall, I went back to that doctor for some other treatments. When he looked at my MRI, he said, My gosh, Wayne, you have an enlarged prostate. I told him, I know; I’ve been on a prostate watch for nearly 20 years.

“My doctor in Asheville put me on finasteride, which is a medication to help reduce an enlarged prostate. I also take a natural prostate supplement, but my prostate remained enlarged.

“As a result, my bladder didn’t have any long-range capacity, and I had to urinate more often. I was up two, three, four times a night to use the bathroom. And when I urinated, it came out in little spurts, so it took a long time to empty my bladder.

“The doctor in Indialantic recommended I check in with Dr. Dunfee. He said there may be something he could do to treat my enlarged prostate.”

Brian L. Dunfee, MD, is a board-certified vascular and interventional radiologist at Interventional & Vascular Center. Dr. Dunfee’s partner, Robert J. Kennedy, MD, is also a board-certified vascular and interventional radiologist. Dr. Dunfee and Dr. Kennedy use minimally invasive, image-guided techniques to treat prostate issues and other conditions.

Leading-Edge Alternative

“Wayne came to us complaining of difficulty urinating,” Dr. Dunfee recalls. “He told us he had an enlarged prostate and often woke up at night feeling like he needed to urinate but couldn’t. When he finally could, he urinated only a very small amount.

“He told me he had been dealing with this issue for many years, and medication alone did not treat it effectively. Given his age and other medical conditions, Wayne did not want to go down the road of the more invasive type of procedures for enlarged prostate, which can have more side effects and complications.

“So, we talked about some of the leading-edge alternatives we offer at our center and recommended a procedure we have been performing successfully for five years called prostate artery embolization.”

During prostate artery embolization, a tiny tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery in the patient’s groin. Using fluoroscopy (x-ray) guidance, Dr. Dunfee pushes the catheter through the arterial system and into the blood vessels of the prostate gland.

“Since the procedure, I only get up maybe once a night to urinate, which is much better than before.” – Wayne

“Once we arrive in the prostate, we confirm our position using fluoroscopy,” Dr. Dunfee describes. “We then inject millions of small beads that block blood flow in certain areas of the gland.

“As a result of the blocked blood flow to the prostate, the gland atrophies and shrinks over several weeks. As the prostate shrinks, it stops pinching off the urethra, the tube that leads from the urinary bladder to outside of the body, and the patient’s urinary symptoms resolve.”

In addition to being minimally invasive, a prostate artery embolization carries little risk for complications, and it does not prevent patients from undergoing other prostate procedures in the future. It also eliminates patients’ need for medication.

“We generally wait a couple of months and then slowly taper patients off their prostate medications,” Dr. Dunfee confirms. “But patients typically feel symptom relief four to six weeks after the procedure.”

A prostate artery embolization can be completed in about an hour and is performed using twilight sedation, where a mild dose of anesthesia is used to place the patient in a conscious but relaxed state. Patients typically feel no pain during or after the embolization.

“Feeling Great”

Dr. Dunfee performed Wayne’s prostate artery embolization on January 9. What Wayne remembers most about it is that the procedure went just the way Dr. Dunfee said it would.

“The procedure was performed in a very calm setting,” Wayne remembers. “I wasn’t put out completely, but I was given medication that put me at ease. I can’t describe much about the actual procedure, but I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever.

“And now I’m feeling great. I have a full flow of urine instead of little spurts, and to me that’s a big deal. Not only that, but since the procedure, I only get up maybe once a night to urinate, which is much better than before. I’m getting a good night’s sleep now.”

In March, Dr. Dunfee began to reduce Wayne’s prostate medication. Because of that and the success of his embolization procedure, Wayne has decided to let Dr. Dunfee treat another condition.

“I’m 80 years old, and the blood vessels in my legs aren’t the best,” Wayne relates. “I have enough confidence in Dr. Dunfee that I’m having him work on my varicose veins next. That’s how much I trust him and everything he’s done for me.

“I can’t say enough about Dr. Dunfee. He’s very well-educated and has a great bedside manner. Not only is Dr. Dunfee an excellent doctor – he’s the best you can get – but the people that surround him are every bit as good. That’s why I highly recommend them.”

Print This Article