High Intensity Focused Ultrasound for Prostate Cancer
Patients with localized prostate cancer, meaning that cancer hasn’t spread beyond the prostate gland, may be candidates for high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatment. This minimally invasive treatment uses high-frequency ultrasound to target, then heat and destroy, or “ablate,” cancerous tissue. This precise treatment does not damage the surrounding tissue or organs.
Directing prostate cancer treatment that is focused and fast
Most people associate ultrasound technology with baby images during pregnancy, but it also effectively fights prostate cancer. High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) produces highly focused, intense sound waves targeting tissue. This is similar to using a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays on a leaf, leaving a burnt hole. The sound waves are narrowly focused on a single point, and their energy causes temperatures to quickly spike as high as 194℉ or 90℃, rapidly destroying cancer cells.
While the patient is under general anesthesia, the physician inserts a small ultrasound probe into the rectum, similar to the one used during a prostate biopsy. During the procedure, crystals inside the probe send images to a computer to better allow our surgeons to pinpoint the exact location of the ultrasound waves. Physicians can also use MRI fusion technology for precise treatment.
Prioritizing accuracy and safety with HIFU for prostate cancer
High-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, treatment for prostate cancer is a robotic procedure. Our urologists plan and guide the procedure with the help of robotic technology that offers movements accurate to the millimeter – a level of accuracy that is impossible to achieve with the human hand.
Our surgeons use the Ablatherm® Fusion and Focal One® machines manufactured by EDAP Technologies, locally based in Austin. We have MRI fusion capabilities and can perform either focal or whole-gland prostate HIFU treatment. The treatment is robotically controlled and guided by real-time images of the prostate by ultrasound.
Patients benefit in many ways from high intensity ultrasound technology
High-intensity focused ultrasound HIFU technology precisely targets cancerous tissue while preserving surrounding areas and organs.
Other benefits that HIFU treatment offers include:
- Minimally invasive procedure that uses no radiation and requires no incision
- Lower risk of side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction compared with other prostate cancer treatments
- The convenience of an outpatient procedure typically lasting just 45 minutes to two hours, so patients go home the same day
- Shorter recovery time, leaving most patients able to return to their everyday activities in a few days
- Safer for patients since HIFU uses the same harmless ultrasound waves that technicians use for pregnancy ultrasounds – just more intense and focused
- Pain medications are rarely needed after the procedure
- HIFU treatment can be provided a second time if needed, or followed by other types of prostate cancer treatment, including surgery – this is not always true for treatments such as radiation
Patients should contact us for an appointment to learn if high-intensity focused ultrasound treatment for prostate cancer is an option for them.