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High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for Prostate Cancer

HIFU, short for high intensity focused ultrasound, as a new, updated technology offering an acoustic ablation technique utilizing the unique power of an ultrasound to eliminate prostate cancer tissue using pinpoint accuracy. Through focused sound waves toward a targeted area, HIFU rapidly elevated the temperature in that area causing the complete breakdown of tissue.

Due to the precision and control of HIFU, the risk of common side effects associated with other prostate cancer treatments is reduced. These risks include incontinence and erectile dysfunction. The HIFU process often takes around two to three hours and can be done in one procedure. It is often considered an out-patient procedure that uses epidural or spinal anesthesia. HIFU is marked off as non-ionizing, there is no radiation meaning that the HIFU treatment can be utilized a number of times if necessary and there will be no damage done to healthy tissue. Because of this, in some cases, HIFU is used as an alternative technique if various other treatments for prostate cancer fail to work.

Possibly the most well known HIFU system to treat prostate cancer is the Sonablate 500. The Sonablate 500 is a device that is computer controlled and designed to transrectally deliver HIFU energy directed toward the prostate to remove all diseased tissue in the area. The Sonablate 500 technology utilizes what is known as integrated biplanar ultrasound imaging to provide real-time planning, monitoring, and before and after therapy imaging of the area where the prostate is located.

HIFU works similarly to what occurs when an individual focuses sunlight through the magnifying lens. The precise focusing of this ultrasound energy throughout the duration of an HIFU therapy session increases the temperature of tissue located within the focal zone at a very rapid pace, while enabling it so that the intervening tissue located between the focal zone and transducer remain safe with no increase in temperature. The final result is a precise lesion located at the target area and monitored by the physician. All zones that are affected with the cancerous tissue or checked by the physician and a plan is created prior to commencing HIFU therapy. The technology's imaging capabilities allows for easy identification of all vital structures, including the rectal wall, seminal vesicles and neurovascular bundles, to ensure that only affected areas are targeted and no unnecessary damage is caused.

When undergoing HIFU, patients need to take two enemas approximately two hours before the commencement of the procedure. Because the patient cannot move during the procedure, a light sedation is given intravenously. During the HIFU treatment, the physician inserts a small probe into the rectum. The probe emits ultrasound waves sent to the tissue. Throughout the course of the procedure, the Sonablate 500 provides real-time images of the entire area, like the prostate and surrounding tissue, providing detailed, immediate feedback. When the treatment is over, patients often need about one or two hours to recover and then are discharged. There is minimal recovery and men find they can return to their daily life within a few days.

At Palm Beach Urology Associates, we offer more than just state-of-the-art urology treatments -- we offer world class medical services by specialists who care. Our practice services a wide number of patients who come from all over South Florida and abroad seeking state of the art care in urology with a personal touch.