A PIONEERING new treatment for an enlarged prostate, first performed in Southampton's hospitals, is set to be offered to patients nationwide.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will give the go-ahead for 'Prostate Artery Embolisation' (PAE) to be used by the NHS to treat non-cancerous prostate enlargement.

The condition is very common in older men and can causes sufferers difficulty in stating urination, a frequent need to urinate or an inability to empty the bladder.

But doctors will now be able to use a tiny plastic catheter in the groin to place particles the size of grains of sand into the prostate arteries to cut the blood supply and shrink the gland.

Dr Nigel Hacking and Dr Tim Bryant, consultant interventional radiologists at Southampton General Hospital, were the first in the UK to start the treatment in the UK in 2012.

They began a study in 2015 to compare results of PAE with conventional surgery.

A total of 18 centres in the UK recruited more than 200 PAE patients over the period of two years and compared these with 100 men having more conventional surgical options,

Dr Hacking said: "Results from the study show PAE can help large numbers of men suffering with the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

"It is a particularly good option for men who are not yet ready to undergo more invasive prostate surgery.

“I hope with NICE’s recommendations released today that more centres will be able to introduce PAE services in the not too distant future.”

Professor Kevin Harris, clinical director for the NICE interventional procedures programme, added: “This is an excellent example of what can be achieved when we work together across the system.

"This could make a real difference to the lives of men up and down the country.”