HIGH INTENSITY FOCUSED ULTRASOUND (HIFU)
Find a balance between eliminating cancer and maintaining quality of life with HIFU
What is HIFU?
HIFU is a precise and targeted therapy that reduces the risk of complications and impact to quality of life caused by surgery and radiation. 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 the tissue temperature rises rapidly to 90 degrees Celsius destroying the targeted tissue. The same principles are used when light is focused through a magnifying glass.
With HIFU, physicians have the ability to target and treat a small amount of tissue, which minimizes damage done to areas around the prostate. This helps preserve normal urinary function and minimizes risk of erectile dysfunction.
HIFU was cleared by the FDA for prostate tissue ablation in October 2015; however, more than 50,000 men have been treated with HIFU globally. HIFU technology has previously been used successfully since the 1970s to treat other malignancies, including liver, kidney, breast, and pancreatic cancer.
Focal Therapy with HIFU
Focal therapy with Sonablate® HIFU technology creates a small, precise lesion. This targets the tumor within the prostate, leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed. Experienced physicians use advanced software to merge MRI and real-time images of the prostate to locate the tumor and plan treatment to target that area only. According to published studies, focal therapy with HIFU for the treatment of non-metastatic prostate cancer has shown low risks of side effects while providing disease control.
Benefits of HIFU over Traditional Prostate Cancer Treatments
The most advanced and state-of-the-art medical device, that utilizes HIFU to ablate prostate tissue, is the Sonablate®; manufactured by SonaCare Medical. This state-of-the-art technology consists of a console where the physician plans, monitors and adjusts HIFU treatment, a transrectal probe and a chiller, which is a safety device that keeps the rectum cool during treatment.
Unique Features of Sonablate® HIFU
The Sonablate® is the only HIFU device for prostate cancer that can:
- Locate nerves during HIFU, decreasing the risk of erectile dysfunction caused by nerve damage
- Monitor rectal wall temperatures for patient safety
- Maintain rectum and tissue temperatures by circulating chilled water through the probe during the procedure
- Safely treat different types of prostate tissue by adjusting power levels
Targeted, Precise and Effective
The Sonablate® obtains real-time ultrasound images of the prostate and surrounding areas. From these images, the doctor precisely defines the treatment zones in order to safely destroy the targeted tissue. Once a physician has targeted all the areas to be treated, he or she then delivers the HIFU energy, while continually monitoring how the tissue reacts; making adjustments as needed, for safe, effective delivery of HIFU energy.
The control and precision of HIFU means most patients only require one treatment and lower risk of common side effects associated with surgery and radiation.
Unlike radiation, HIFU is non-ionizing so it can be repeated, if necessary, without damaging healthy tissue. This means that HIFU can also be used as a salvage treatment option if there is a recurrence of prostate cancer after a different treatment. Additionally, HIFU does not preclude other treatment options; men who choose HIFU and then need additional therapies still have all their treatment options available.
Features of Sonablate® Software Focused on Patient Safety
- Neurovascular bundle detection helps the physician avoid harm to sensitive structures surrounding the prostate, which helps maintain erectile function and preserve a patient’s quality of life.
- Rectal wall monitoring helps determine the temperature and proximity to the rectal wall, in order to protect rectal wall tissue.
- The active cooling system circulates chilled water through the probe during the procedure while monitoring temperature to protect rectal wall tissue.
- Real-time imaging allows the physician to view and compare the original image to the real-time image being treated.
- MRI/Ultrasound fusion integration software allows the physician to merge MRI images into the Sonablate® planning software in order to determine a more precise ablation plan.
- TCM or Tissue Change Monitoring is a color display that gives the physician enhanced feedback about the change in tissue at each point of HIFU delivery.
Who is a candidate for HIFU with the Sonablate®?
Sonablate® HIFU is most effective for men who have early stage, localized prostate cancer that has not spread or metastasized outside the prostate. It is recommended that all men discuss individual medical records and history with a physician in order to confirm whether or not they are a candidate for HIFU. Sonablate® HIFU is also an effective therapy for recurrent prostate cancer when patients may not have any other treatment options. Many patients who have had radiation therapy experience a rise in PSA and discover that the cancer has returned. These patients may be candidates for the HIFU treatment as well.
The Sonablate® HIFU Procedure
The HIFU procedure typically lasts between 1-4 hours, depending on the size of the prostate, and is done under general anesthesia. During the procedure a suprapubic or foley catheter will be put into place to help with urination, and will typically stay in place for 1-2 weeks. After the HIFU treatment, patients will be in recovery for about 1-2 hours. Once released from the treatment center, patients return home to recover more comfortably. Though, it is recommended that patients take things easy, most patients feel well enough to go out for dinner and maybe even a walk, the day of the procedure.
HIFU Outcomes & Effectiveness
Studies show after being treated with HIFU...
Side Effects & Complication Rates
Sonablate® HIFU is non-invasive and has the ability to spare the nerves responsible for preserving potency. Additionally, the procedure does not damage muscles that control urinary function. Therefore HIFU patients typically experience much lower rates of side effects than traditional treatments.