What is HIFU?
HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) is a minimally invasive procedure which offers dramatically reduced side effects. HIFU eradicates prostate cancer through the precision focusing of sound waves to a targeted spot. The process results in the creation of heat due to the interaction between the sound waves and the cancerous tissue to destroy cancer cells.
High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) uses high frequency ultrasound energy to heat and destroy cancer cells in the prostate. A beam of ultrasound energy travels into the prostate from a probe put into the back passage (rectum).
HIFU is a Minimally Invasive Prostate Cancer Therapy
HIFU is an outpatient procedure, generally performed under local or general anesthesia that is completely radiation free. Because HIFU is non surgical, there is no incisions or blood loss and recovery is quick.
HIFU therapy can be repeated, if necessary. It can also be used as a salvage therapy if other prostate cancer treatment options fail.
Because it uses clean ultrasound energy, it doesn’t cause harm to any tissue surrounding the targeted focal point.
You only need a short hospital stay – you can usually go home on the same day as your treatment.
The recovery time is short – usually one or two weeks.
HIFU doesn’t involve any cuts to the skin or needles, apart from a needle in your hand to give the general anaesthetic.
You may be able to have HIFU again if your cancer comes back after your first HIFU treatment. This isn’t the case with all treatments.
You may also be able to have other treatments after HIFU if your cancer comes back, such as surgery or radiotherapy.
What to Expect – HIFU Procedure
Here is a basic description of what to expect. Patients will be provided with detailed instructions prior to treatment.
It is very important that the patient does not move during HIFU thus patients are given a general anesthesia and remain perfectly still. There is no pain during the prostate cancer treatment. A small probe inserted into the rectum emits ultrasound waves directly to the prostatic tissue. During the procedure, the ABLATHERM system delivers real-time images of the prostate and the surrounding area giving the physician immediate and detailed feedback. Prostate cancer treatment time varies but generally lasts one to four hours depending on the size of the prostate.
Immediately after HIFU there is a one to two hour recovery period at the prostate cancer treatment facility and then you are discharged. Recovery is minimal. A Foley catheter is inserted during the procedure that is usually worn for two weeks. People usually are up and walking around within hours after HIFU and can return to a normal lifestyle within a couple of days. Some HIFU patients experience frequency, urgency, mild discomfort or discharge in urinary stream. During your recovery time at home, a staff member is always available to guide you with any questions.
What will I need to do to prepare for the HIFU procedure?
Prior to HIFU, patients should have the usual lab work (CBC, Complete Medical Panel, Urinary Analysis with culture, if indicated by your physician) and an EKG in preparation for undergoing anesthesia. If the patient has any significant medical history, he should see his cardiologist or primary physician for clearance for the anesthesia. The HIFU procedure itself causes no significant bleeding or swings in blood pressure, etc. A nurse will send detailed information after the procedure has been scheduled regarding diet, medications and any additional lab work or tests that may be required.
How long does the HIFU procedure take?
The length of the procedure depends on the size of the prostate gland. Larger glands will take longer to treat completely. A way to estimate time is 1 hour for every 10 grams of tissue to be treated. That works out to an average of 1.5- 4 hours.
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