Hifu & Prostate Cancer
The acronym HIFU stands for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, which is a highly precise medical procedure that targets tissue deep inside the body and destroys it using the power of ultrasound waves. This therapy, which is used to treat a variety of conditions including kidney cancer, uterine fibroids, breast cancer, and several other conditions, has recently caught the attention of the urology field as a highly effective, low-risk prostate cancer treatment option.
HIFU treatment varies depending on the condition being treated. When used to treat prostate cancer, HIFU begins with the administration 00004000 of anesthetic, either spinal or general. Once the antistatic is in effect, the physician uses a transrectal probe to gather ultrasound images of the prostate gland. Through the probe, the physician will then deliver ultrasound waves directly into the prostate gland.
Ultrasound waves are not damaging to tissue, which is why they are safely used to gather images of the body during HIFU and other medical procedures. HIFU treatment uses the same scientific principle used when burning paper with a magnifying glass. In this example, each individual ray of sunlight is not damaging to the paper, but the magnifying glass lens bends the light so that the rays come together at a specific point on the other side of the lens. This point, called the focal point, contains a tremendous amount of energy, which is enough to burn the leaf or paper.
Similarly, in HIFU treatment, the individual ultrasound waves are harmless. They pass easily through the tissue surrounding the gland without damaging it. However, the transducer points the rays at a specific point inside the gland – the focal point – and at that point the tissue is exposed to high levels of energy. This energy quickly heats and destroys the tissue.
The treatment is typically performed on an outpatient basis and lasts between one and four hours, depending on the size of the prostate gland and the treatment delivery device used. The procedure can be done under spinal anesthesia. During the treatment, the doctor will use the ultrasound waves to collect images of the prostate gland, which allows for customizing the treatment to each patient’s body.
Less Risk, Greater Benefit
So why choose HIFU as a prostate cancer treatment option? HIFU offers less risk then other treatments with similar results. Because the treatment destroys the entire prostate gland, it is highly successful for localized prostate cancer cases. Because of the way the treatment works, tissues surrounding the prostate gland are not damaged, which lowers the risk of permanent conditions like impotence and incontinence, although these are still a risk as they are with any prostate cancer treatment option. Also, HIFU is not a surgical procedure, which means no blood is lost during treatment, and the treatment has less risk of infection over other prostate cancer treatment options. Finally, HIFU is non-ionizing, which means it can be used as a salvage treatment and also can be repeated if necessary. Few other effective prostate cancer treatments have the same number of benefits.
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 Sonablate500 for the treatment of prostate cancer.
The information provided on this website is for general information purposes only and is not intended to replace sound professional medical advice and care. All treatment options and potential outcomes and complications should be discussed with a qualified healthcare provider.
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