High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is a cutting-edge technique used to remove tissue from the prostate. This treatment has been used to treat prostate cancer in some cases. Depending on the patient, the size of the prostate and the type and grade of the cancer, it can be an excellent alternative to other treatments. According to Dr. Paul Arnold, HIFU treatment gives patients the “best chance to retain erections and your continence.”
HIFU may seem complicated, but it is a fairly simple procedure. Imagine being a child using a magnifying glass to catch the sun and using that light to burn a small hole in a piece of paper. This is similar to how HIFU works, only HIFU uses sound waves instead of sun rays. The doctor aims the sound waves at the cancer cells in the prostate and uses the heat triggered by the HIFU to kill the cancer cells.
The procedure takes from one to four hours and is very noninvasive. The doctor requires the patient to fast for about six hours before the surgery and performs an enema to make sure the bowels are empty for the procedure. The patient gets a simple catheter put in for urine collection during the procedure, and anesthesia is administered.
The doctor starts the procedure by inserting an ultrasound device into the patient’s rectum. The ultrasound uses waves to gather and build an image of the prostate. This image will guide the sound waves to the cancerous cells. Sound waves are then sent through the the wall of the rectum and into the targeted areas of the prostate where they destroy the cancer cells.
Once the procedure is over, patients are generally allowed to leave as soon as the anesthesia wears off. HIFU stands out as one of the treatments with few side effects. Patients initially may experience trouble getting an erection and may experience urinating issues as well as leakage between bathroom trips, but these side effects are temporary and will subside. There are also risks of urinary infections that your urologist will monitor with you.
HIFU is a game-changing tool in the treatment of prostate cancer. Doctors like Paul Arnold, MD at the Advanced Urology Institute are embracing these new technologies to achieve the best outcomes for their patients. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.