“Think about all the places you go and all the things you do, and this monkey on your back is ‘Where’s the restroom? How far is the restroom?’” said Bob Mondschein. “You have to plan your life around that.”
Mondschein had been diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or the enlargement of the prostate gland. BPH is a common condition experienced by about half of all men between ages 51 and 60, and as high as 80% in men older than 70. As a recent retiree, he had planned on devoting some of his newfound free time to his many active hobbies: exotic sports car driving and swimming, to name a few. But his condition interfered with his ability to do the things he enjoyed.
“It wasn’t just the frequency [of urination] and the waking up at night,” Mondschein said. “It was the urgency. I could be talking to you here and I would have to say ‘Excuse me, I’ll be right back.’”
After a friend mentioned a game-changing procedure he heard could help with BPH, Mondschein contacted Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. There he met with Dr. Nassir Rostambeigi, an interventional radiologist who told him about PAE.
PAE — prostatic artery embolization — is a procedure performed by interventional radiologists, subspecialists who use minimally invasive imaging techniques to diagnose and treat numerous diseases. PAE consists of inserting a catheter into the wrist or groin then, using imaging guidance, passing it into the prostatic arteries and injecting tiny beads to cut off the blood supply.
After learning more from Dr. Rostambeigi, Mondschein opted to move forward with the outpatient procedure. In just a few days, he was back to his normal life without any permanent long-term effects. Now, whether he’s instructing someone on how to drive a sports car, or taking a long swim, his decisions don’t revolve around where the closest bathroom is located.
“For me, PAE allowed me to live my life,” he said. With so many men his age experiencing BPH, Mondschein stresses the importance of vulnerable, honest conversations about the sometimes sensitive topic.
“Break the ice with the people that you know are dealing with [this],” he said. “This is a great option for them to know about, and you would be doing a good deed to let them know about [PAE].”
BPH and PAE at a Glance
Prostatic artery embolization (PAE) is a minimally invasive procedure for men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
PAE can be performed as an outpatient procedure and without general anesthesia.
About half of all men between ages 51 and 60 have BPH.
PAE has a success rate of 85% after one year and more than 75% long-term.