High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

About HIFU Treatment

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. Men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer may not need surgery or radiation.

  • A new approach uses high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to destroy prostate tumors.
  • The treatment can control prostate cancer with greatly reduced side effects.
  • This could change treatment for many prostate cancer patients.

The ideal candidate for focal therapy typically has intermediate-risk prostate cancer located in only one area of the prostate. This location is determined by prostate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and targeted prostate biopsy. My ideal candidate for focal HIFU has a lesion in the posterior or lateral portion of the prostate, a small- to moderate-sized prostate, and no major prostate calcifications or large cysts.


What can I expect during a HIFU appointment?

The HIFU procedure is done while the patient is under general anesthesia. Once the patient is completely anesthetized, a special ultrasound probe is placed in the rectum. There are no incisions or even any needles used. This ultrasound probe is used to both image the prostate and deliver the treatment. Once the initial positioning and planning steps are complete, treatment is delivered. Each HIFU treatment lasts just a few seconds and destroys an area of tissue that is about the size of a grain of rice. An ablation zone is created by delivering multiple treatments to cover a predefined area of the prostate based on imaging and biopsy results. During the treatment, the surgeon is given real-time imaging as well as treatment parameters including temperature readings and calculated tissue changes to assess the quality and success of ablation. The procedure length depends on the size of the area to be ablated but in general takes approximately two hours.

How does HIFU for Prostate Cancer Work?

The MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is an outpatient treatment that takes about two hours. Patients under anesthesia are placed in an MRI machine that covers the lower half of the body. After the machine takes an image of the prostate, the doctors outline the treatment area and deliver the focused ultrasound waves, guided by the MRI. The ultrasound waves come from different directions, intersecting to attack and kill the cancer by heating the cells to more than 158 °F (70 °C).