A Noninvasive Prostate Cancer Solution
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU, is a precise and targeted noninvasive therapy for localized prostate cancer. HIFU uses ultrasound energy, or sound waves, to heat and destroy specifically targeted areas of tissue. During HIFU, the sound waves pass through healthy tissue without causing damage. However, at the focal point of the sound waves (like a magnifying glass focusing the rays of the sun to burn a leaf), the tissue temperature rises to 90 degrees Celsius (194 Degrees Fahrenheit) destroying the targeted tissue.
  • HIFU has distinct therapeutic advantages over traditional prostate cancer therapies.
  • Takes only one to four hours (depending on prostate size)
  • Performed as an out-patient procedure
  • Recovery time is minimal
  • Patients are usually up and walking around within hours after the procedure and may return to a normal lifestyle within a couple of days
  • A catheter is inserted during the procedure and usually worn for one to three weeks
What is HIFU:
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, which is commonly referred to as HIFU, is an acoustic ablation technology that harnesses the power of ultrasound waves to destroy deep-seated tissue in areas of the body that are hard to reach with traditional treatments. When used to treat prostate cancer, it is a highly effective treatment option that is able to target and destroy the prostate gland and its cancerous tissue with pinpoint accuracy. HIFU works by quickly increasing the temperature in specific focal zones high enough to destroy the tissue.

Many prostate cancer treatments have high incidences of side effects, particularly incontinence and impotence. This risk is significantly reduced with the control and precision offered to physicians using HIFU technology.

A typical HIFU treatment takes between two and three hours and is performed one time on an outpatient basis. It requires no general anesthetic and is a non-ionizing, radiation-free technology, and can be repeated if necessary without causing adverse affects to the surrounding tissues. This benefit also means that HIFU can be used as a prostate cancer salvage technique when other non-repeatable treatments fail.

HIFU technology is similar to the scientific principle that allows sunlight focused through a magnifying glass to burn a leaf. The ultrasound waves, like the sun's rays, are focused into a single intersection point called a focal zone. At this focal zone, temperatures are raised quickly to the point of tissue destruction. This is highly accurate and repeatable, and the entire process is monitored in real time.

The Sonablate® 500 is a computer-controlled HIFU delivery device. It delivers the ultrasound energy through a transrectal probe in order to remove prostate disease. The Sonablate® uses integrated biplanar ultrasound imaging to allow the physician to plan the treatment and monitor it in real-time during and after the treatment. This imaging technology also allows the physician to locate and avoid vital structures, including the seminal vesicles, rectal wall, neurovascular bundles, and prostate capsule, which lowers the side effect risk.