Sanjeev K. Gupta, M.D.
Board Certified Urology
Adult and Pediatric Urological Care
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HIFU for Prostate Cancer

HIFU, or High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, is an innovative, minimally invasive prostate cancer treatment option. Ultrasound waves are oscillating sound waves that cannot be heard by the human ear. When the path of these sound waves is blocked by something, energy is released. This energy converts into heat as the waves begin to break down. Most ultrasound procedures cause a minimal, non-damaging amount of temperature changes. Physicians can map the organs inside the body by mapping the areas where the ultrasound waves were blocked.

HIFU, on the other hand, uses many ultrasound waves with a high intensity to create a significant rise in temperature inside the body. The HIFU device causes all of the ultrasound waves to release their energy at one precise location inside the prostate tumor. This location, known as the focal point, heats up to incredibly high temperatures. By raising the temperature inside the tumor to the boiling point quickly, HIFU can effectively destroy the prostate cancer.

Doctors who perform HIFU are able to monitor the progress of the procedure through 3D ultrasound images gathered by the delivery probe. This allows them to tailor the treatment to the patientÂ’s needs. As the tumor begins to disappear, the treatment can be adjusted to effectively kill all of the cancer while preserving most of the surrounding tissue.

Benefits of HIFU

Patients who undergo HIFU are not exposed to any radiation, so the areas around the prostate gland are not harmed. Also, the procedure requires minimal surgery, if any at all, so the patient will not face much blood loss. HIFU can be performed under spinal anesthesia, which means the patient can remain alert throughout the procedure. It provides a level of precision that other prostate cancers do not allow, thus eliminating some risk for side effects such as incontinence and impotence.

Do You Qualify for HIFU?

As with all prostate cancer treatment options, not all patients qualify for treatment with HIFU. Factors such as Gleason score, prostate size, and tumor size and location all affect your ability to undergo HIFU treatment. Your doctor will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the your treatment options with you if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The Sonablate® 500 is not approved for use in the U.S. The Sonablate® 500 remains investigational in the U.S. and is being studied for the treatment of prostate cancer in clinical trials in the U.S. FDA has made no decision as to the safety or efficacy of the Sonablate® 500 for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Currently, the device is approved in Canada and the Dominican Republic, authorized in Argentina, and available in the Bahamas and Mexico.