Full Stream Ahead

Relieve symptoms of enlarged prostate with new, nonsurgical procedure.

Michael Powell is a visionary. Since he was in his mid-20s, the 63-year-old inventor and entrepreneur has been in a rinse-and-repeat cycle in which he creates a business, cultivates it, then moves on to his next brainstorm.

“Right now, I’m working on a housing project,” Michael shares. “My company has designed about 50 different model houses out of glass, steel and resin. They require no maintenance and virtually surpass all building codes to be hurricane and earthquake proof.

“The prototypes were made in China with the intent of manufacturing the houses in the US and creating jobs here, but my shipment from China has been sitting in customs for more than a year because the duty went from 2.9 percent to 28.9 percent. I went back to our engineers and asked them to remake prototypes over here so we can move forward.

“Our goal is to ship the houses throughout the world in shipping containers. They’ll arrive with all the components ready for assembly with plans that are preapproved and certified by our engineers, so buyers won’t have to battle with local building engineers.”

Michael’s latest venture comes in the wake of a physical setback that he began to struggle with in 2014, when his uncomfortable symptoms ultimately landed him in the hospital. While there, he learned about the true problem those symptoms revealed.

“All of a sudden, I felt very swollen and could no longer urinate,” Michael recalls. “I went to the emergency room and remained in the hospital for three days with a really bad urinary tract infection. At that time, the doctor told me, You have a very large prostate. We need to do a TURP.

A TURP is a transurethral resection of the prostate. It’s a surgical procedure that involves cutting away some of the prostate tissue. Debulking the prostate relieves the urinary symptoms caused when the enlarged gland presses against the bladder and urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.

“I did a little research and learned about the horrific side effects that can occur from TURP surgery,” Michael relates. “I know a few people who had it and ended up having to wear diapers or having sexual side effects, and I thought, There’s got to be a better way to treat my condition.

Seeking alternatives, Michael learned of other treatments. One was frequency healing, in which certain frequencies of sound are used to manipulate brainwaves to promote healing of the body. Michael tried that but didn’t achieve the result he hoped for. He then tried Rezum therapy.

“During Rezum therapy, they place a catheter into your prostate and release steam,” Michael describes. “The steam release kills prostate cells and reduces pressure on the urethra so you can urinate.

“I found a doctor in Melbourne who offers it, but he said, We don’t use Rezum on men with prostates larger than 80 or 90 cm, and yours is 172 cm. He then referred me to a doctor in Melbourne who offers a new technology that’s been very successful with enlarged prostates.”

That doctor is Robert J. Kennedy, MD. He is a board-certified vascular and interventional radiologist at Interventional & Vascular Center. He and his partner, board-certified vascular and interventional radiologist Brian L. Dunfee, MD, use minimally invasive, image-guided techniques to treat conditions such as an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

“Michael came to us in August 2020,” Dr. Kennedy recalls. “He had a history of BPH with urinary tract symptoms including episodes of urinary retention, difficulty voiding and issues requiring catheterization and hospitalization. He had been on medications, but they were no longer working.

“There are many surgical options for BPH, but due to the size of Michael’s prostate his options were limited. He consulted with a urologist and weighed his options. He was interested in our prostate artery embolization technology, so the urologist referred him to us.”

Disrupted Flow

The aim of prostate artery embolization is to decrease the size of the prostate by limiting its blood supply.

“All tissue needs oxygen and nutrients from blood to grow,” Dr. Kennedy educates. “When the prostate’s blood supply is disrupted, some of its cells die in a process called ischemic necrosis. As a result, the gland shrinks down to a size where symptoms improve.”

Prostate artery embolization is a same-day, minimally invasive procedure performed with the patient under moderate sedation in Interventional & Vascular Center’s office-based lab.

“During the procedure, we insert a catheter into the patient’s groin and move it into the arteries that supply the prostate,” Dr. Kennedy explains. “We then inject gelatin particles, which plug up the small blood vessel branches supplying the gland and cut off blood flow through those branches. We use fluoroscopy, moving x-ray, guidance to navigate our catheters into the proper blood vessels. That way, we know exactly where the catheters are, and we can safely embolize the prostate.”

Michael’s I-PSS (International Prostate Symptom Score), which grades the severity of his symptoms, was markedly improved following the procedure, Dr. Kennedy details. And he was able to discontinue his medications.

Michael raves that the treatment was “absolutely incredible.”

“The most painful part, which wasn’t painful at all, was when they stuck the IV needle into the vein in my hand,” he recalls. “That tiny little pinch was the most discomfort I felt throughout the entire procedure.”

There are several advantages of prostate artery embolization over other BPH treatments, Dr. Kennedy points out.

“One is that there are no sexual side effects, such as erectile dysfunction or retrograde ejaculation, which is ejaculation into the bladder,” he says. “It also has a shorter recovery time than most surgical procedures.”

“No Issues Whatsoever”

Michael didn’t require a catheter following prostate artery embolization and his activities weren’t restricted. In fact, he felt so good that he and his wife celebrated the occasion.

“Afterward, we went out for lunch and had a good time,” Michael reports. “The following few days were a little rough. After all, my prostate was being starved of blood and was swelling. But I had rougher times with urinary tract infections in the months before I met Dr. Kennedy. On the fourth day, we drove to North Carolina, about a 12-hour trip.

“Somewhere around the sixth or seventh day after the procedure, I started to urinate with no issues whatsoever,” he details. “I haven’t been able to relieve myself like that since 2014. I started seeing results during the first week, and it’s only gotten better.

Michael believes prostate artery embolization saved him from a lifetime of emotional and physical scars related to prostate surgery.

“What distresses me is the number of people who are subject to surgery and its consequences because their doctors aren’t approved to do the procedures that Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Dunfee can do,” he says. “Surgery is sold to them as a solution when it’s really not.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Michael’s photo courtesy of Michael Powell. mkb


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