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Relief from Enlarged Prostate: Michael Henderson’s Journey to Improved Urinary Function

Michael Henderson Finds Comfort and Control with Prostate Artery Embolization

Jordan Pysz / iFoundMyDoctor.com
A new procedure to treat an enlarged prostate has restored Michael’s urinary control.

A summertime trip to Cape Cod isn’t complete without a sampling of fried clams, and some of the best on the peninsula can be found at a ’50s-style clam shack called Captain Frosty’s Fish and Chips. Captain Frosty’s has been serving award-winning seafood for 45 years, and as its founder, Michael Henderson, will tell you, it serves whole belly fried clams, not those chintzy strips that you get in most places on the mainland. “It’s an iconic menu item, unique to us in the Northeast,” Michael says. “It’s a softshell clam that’s been shucked, breaded and fried, and yes, a lot of people will tell you ours are the best. Either way, it’s been a thriving business for us.” Though seasonal, open mid-April to mid- September, Captain Frosty’s has thrived so well that it has afforded Michael and his wife the opportunity to spend winters in Florida since 1981. For years, however, Michael’s ability to enjoy life in both Florida and New England was constantly disrupted by a bothersome medical condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Better known as an enlarged prostate, this condition develops naturally in men as a response to the presence of a form of testosterone. In some cases, the prostate becomes extremely large. If the prostate grows too large, it can squeeze the urethra. the tube that carries urine out of the body. That can lead to symptoms such as urinary frequency, urinary urgency, a weak urine stream and frequent nighttime urination. Michael, 77, was bothered mostly by urinary frequency. “And in my case, it was very frequent,” Michael confirms. “So frequent that I never wanted to be too far from a bathroom. And that gets to be quite awkward, especially when you’re in a social setting because you’re always having to get up and excuse yourself to go the bathroom.” The condition disrupted Michael’s sleep as well, forcing him to get up three or four times a night to urinate. He dealt with those issues for nearly 20 years before finally seeking medical help from a urologist nearly three years ago. The urologist first prescribed a medication that Michael took for a year, but it did nothing to alleviate the symptoms. The urologist next recommended two procedures, both of which are designed to remove tissue from the prostate, thus reducing its size. But Michael’s gland was so enlarged that the urologist thought he might have to perform either surgery twice to achieve the desired result. “And then, of course, there’s the possibility of infection and complications,” Michael says. “So, we ruled out surgery. Then my urologist said to me, There is one other option that’s fairly new, and there’s a radiologist in our area who does it. I’ll put you in contact with him.”

Something New

That physician is David P. Johnson, MD, of Florida Radiology Consultants. One of his specializations is a BPH procedure called prostate artery embolization (PAE). Similar to ablations designed to remove blockages in arteries around the heart, PAE is an endovascular procedure, which means it is performed through the blood vessels. It is typically done on an outpatient basis while the patient is under moderate sedation. During the procedure, a doctor inserts a long, thin tube called a catheter into an artery, usually in the groin area. Under fluoroscopic guidance, the doctor navigates the catheter through the arterial system into one of the two arteries that feed the prostate. Once the catheter is inside a prostatic artery, a batch of small gelatin-like beads are delivered that block blood flow to the prostate that, over time, causes the gland to atrophy and shrink. As the prostate shrinks, it naturally relieves pressure on the urethra. That allows for the restoration of normal urinary function. That goal is typically achieved within three months, but many patients notice improvement after a couple of weeks. “In very simple terms, this procedure puts the prostate on a diet,” Dr. Johnson explains. “We’re depriving the prostate of its source of oxygen and nutrients, and by doing that the prostate simply shrinks to a more normal size. “And unlike some of the other procedures for BPH, this one is done without cutting away any tissue. This procedure also treats the entirety of the gland, and one of the great things about it is that we are not limited by the prostate’s size. “So, for just about anyone who is having problems because of an enlarged prostate, what we can do for them in essence is turn back the clock 10 or 20 years in terms of their ability to urinate and control their urination. And that just leads to a better quality of life.”

Back in Control

Michael first visited Dr. Johnson in January. After conducting a thorough examination, Dr. Johnson determined Michael’s prostate weighed about 100 grams, three times the normal size. “I first began to notice the positive effects of the treatment after just two weeks,” Michael confirms. “The first thing I noticed was that I had a somewhat better urinary stream, which means I was doing a better job of emptying my bladder. “The next thing I noticed was that I had a lot more control of my urinary urges. If I felt an urge to go, I could actually hold it. That wasn’t an option before. There was no holding it before this procedure. If I felt the urge to go, I had to get up and go right then and there. But now, I can’t overemphasize how great it is to be able to say to myself, I’ll do that later, and I never have any leakage. “So, I’m absolutely grateful for Dr. Johnson, for what he’s done for me and for what he does for people struggling the way I was.” Michael says he’s not just a fan of the work that Dr. Johnson does; he is also a fan of how it’s done. That’s one of the many reasons Michael says he would highly recommend Dr. Johnson and Florida Radiology Consultants to anyone. “He’s got a great manner,” Michael says of the physician. “One of the things that I really found admirable about him is that he gives his patients his personal cellphone number and encourages them to call if they have any issues. “He doesn’t want anybody with any issues to have to go through an array of staff to get through to him if they need him, and you don’t find that kind of care everywhere, so yes, I absolutely recommend Dr. Johnson.”

David P. Johnson, MD

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