An advance in the treatment of prostate cancer is making it possible for patients with earlier stages of the disease to maintain their quality of life without surgery. High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU, is a therapy option for patients with localized, "organ confined", prostate cancer, where the tumor is still confined to the organ and has not spread to other areas of the body. HIFU is one of the few prostate cancer treatments that can be considered a minimally invasive, out-patient, radiation-free procedure where the patient does not require an overnight hospital stay. If the prostate cancer returns after initial treatment using HIFU, it does not rule out other treatment options and can be used again as needed.
During HIFU, the ultrasound waves heat up to 195-degrees Fahrenheit and target the affected prostate tissue for 2-3 seconds, leaving the healthy area around the target unharmed. Tissue Change Monitoring Software (TCM) makes it possible for surgeons to monitor changes in the prostate tissue during HIFU therapy in real time. Surgeons see how the prostate tissue is reacting to the ultrasound waves and alter treatment as needed. The precision of the Sonablate HIFU allows for flexibility in the procedure, making it possible for physicians to offer a customized treatment plan tailored to each patient's diagnosis.
There are several forms of Sonablate High Intensity Focused Ultrasound:
|Standard HIFU Procedure
||Focal HIFU Therapy
Ablation of the entire prostate gland.
92% of patients are successfully treated.
Over 99% of men remain continent.
70% of men retain erectile function.
Targeted only to the area in the prostate gland where the tumor is located.
95% of patients maintained potency.
89% of men achieved “the trifecta status” (pad-free, leak-free continence, erections sufficient for intercourse and cancer control at 12 months).
Short procedure time (20-90 minutes).
Option for patients with a recurrence of prostate cancer.
71% biochemical disease free rate.
93% of patients remain continent.
For all forms of HIFU, treatments only last a few hours, and a catheter is usually worn for one to four weeks post-procedure. Patients are able to return to normal activity in a short amount of time. Some side effects may include:
• Frequent and urgent urination
• Mild discomfort
• Urinary stricture
• Erectile dysfunction
The HIFU procedure is currently being conducted around the world in certain European countries and in Canada and Japan. Clinical trials are being run in the United States in order to be approved by the FDA as a viable form of treatment for prostate cancer.
Depending on your age, Gleason score, and current lifestyle, your doctor may or may not recommend HIFU therapy as a treatment option. Be sure to discuss all your options to find the one that best suits your needs.