What are HIFU Treatments?
HIFU stands for high intensity focused ultrasound which is a minimally invasive procedure that treats prostate cancer. Compared to other more traditional cancer treatments, HIFU offers significantly less side effects, and uses targeted sound waves to eradicate prostate cancer tissue.
If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer and you meet the treatment qualifications explained below, HIFU may be a great option to treat your cancer while minimally affecting your life. The highly specialized team of physicians at La Peer Health Systems can work with you every step of the way to educate you in all of the cancer treatments available to you, and help you decide which is the best course of action.
How Does HIFU Treat Prostate Cancer?
HIFU offers a different option for men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer besides a risky surgery and doing nothing at all. Using high intensity focused ultrasound, it is a much less invasive and lower risk procedure for removing prostate cancer.
HIFU uses sound waves to create heat at a specific point, called the focal point. Much like how focusing a magnifying glass on a specific spot can use the sun’s rays to heat the spot of grass, or burn a hole in a leaf, HIFU destroys the tissues of the focal point, leaving everything around it untouched. This means that, unlike other surgical prostate cancer procedures, patients will experience a much lower chance of developing incontinence or erectile dysfunction.
Does HIFU Use Radiation?
HIFU does not use any radiation to treat prostate cancer. The procedure uses clean, non-ionizing energy to target cancer tissue and tumors. It is an independent treatment of itself and will not prevent a patient from pursuing other cancer treatments, such as surgery or radiation, if the cancer is returning.
Is HIFU a Safe Treatment for Prostate Cancer?
HIFU is a safe treatment for prostate cancer. Over 13,000 prostate patients have been treated with HIFU and a Japanese study shows that 94% of their patients treated with the Sonablate HIFU were disease-free after four years.
While HIFU comes with minimal side effects, especially when performed by an experienced La Peer physician and our state-of-the-art equipment, it can cause urinary tract infections as a result of the catheter used post-treatment. The frequency and urgency of urination, discharge in urine, and mild discomfort are also potential side effects for patients the first few weeks following the HIFU treatment.
Benefits of High Intensity Focused Ultrasounds
The benefits of HIFU extend beyond the low risk of complications and side effects.
Some of the benefits of HIFU are that it is:
- An outpatient procedure. Many patients can go home from the hospital the same day as their treatment. In as little as a few days, many patients return to most of their normal activities.
- Pain-free. With the aid of anesthesia during the procedure, patients shouldn’t feel any pain from the procedure, except for some discomfort following the treatment.
- Minimally invasive. There are no incisions made during the procedure.
- The quality of life given to patients is much higher than with more invasive cancer procedures.
- Personalized treatment for patients according to their diagnosis and the severity of the cancer.
Who is a candidate for HIFU Treatments?
To determine if a patient qualifies for HIFU, a physician will need to examine the patient’s pathology report and use MRI imaging to determine the size and location of the prostate cancer. If a patient has an enlarged prostate, the physician will need to know the exact dimensions of the prostate. Typically, men with a prostate gland that is 40 grams or less and have localized prostate cancer can qualify for HIFU. Physicians also look for a PSA of 20 or less and a Gleason score of 7 or less to qualify patients as candidates for HIFU.
Contact an Orthopedic Surgeon in Beverly Hills
La Peer Health Systems in Beverly Hills is home to some of the top rated and highly skilled surgeons and physicians in the country. To learn more about the successful and minimally invasive HIFU treatment for prostate cancer, or to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians, call (855) 360-9119 or email us.