HIFU For Prostate Cancer

The FAQ's of HIFU

HIFU, or high intensity focused ultrasound, is a prostate cancer treatment gaining ground in the medical industry because of its short list of side effects and minimally invasive technique. Since it's a newer form of treatment not yet approved in the United States, here are the FAQ's patients often ask about HIFU.

What is HIFU?

HIFU uses a machine to send ultrasound waves directed at tissue with cancerous cells. The waves give off rapid-firing heat that burns the tissue at 195 degrees Fahrenheit within 3 seconds. The targeted tissue is destroyed by the intense heat but the tissue around the area is left safe and healthy.

What is the Sonablate 500?

The Sonablate is a medical device often used in the HIFU treatment procedure. It first captures accurate pictures of the prostate gland so the physician knows exactly what areas to target with the ultrasound waves. The device then delivers the energy to the small focal points that were pinpointed by the images.

How does HIFU work?

Using clean energy that quickly heats the cancerous tissue, HIFU is able to destroy the unwanted tissue without harming healthy tissue surrounding it. The entire prostate gland is ablated by the procedure, but all the tissue around it remains intact.

What's the recovery like?

Within a few days, HIFU treatment patients are usually able to return to their normal lifestyles. A catheter must be worn by patients for two to three weeks after the procedure because the muscles may be weak. With every type of medical procedure, there are possible side effects involved and they may be different for each patient undergoing the HIFU treatment.

How does HIFU only treat cancerous cells?

Standard Sonablate HIFU targets the tissue in the entire prostate gland until it's completely ablated. The surrounding areas, however, remain unharmed.

Focal HIFU is a treatment that only focuses on the cancerous cells of the prostate. It leaves all healthy cells unharmed. After a thorough evaluation with a doctor, prostate cancer patients will be recommended to undergo either the Sonablate or Focal HIFU treatment.

What's the history of the HIFU treatment?

In 1994, the first human prostate cancer treatment with the Sonablate 200 was performed. The doctors treated 29 prostates to see if the radial energy delivered could destroy the targeted tissue. It was found that the procedure was safe enough to be repeated and effective at destroying cancerous cells.

If you'd like to learn more about the HIFU treatments or have questions, please give our office a call.


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