High intensity focal ultrasound (HIFU), a type of non-invasive treatment that uses high-frequency sound waves to fight tumours.
This technique has proven to be effective to treat prostate cancer and offers numerous advantages for the patient.
How does HIFU work?
HIFU technology treats prostate cancer by concentrating high-intensity ultrasounds that destroy the prostatic gland cells. We achieve this through the application of heat, without affecting the surrounding tissues.
The mechanism of action of high-intensity ultrasounds is similar to sunlight when it goes through a magnifying glass. All the light rays focus on a point and cause a significant increase in temperature around the focal point.
HIFU allows coagulative destruction of prostate tissue without the need for open surgical intervention.
What are the advantages?
It is a non-invasive treatment that enables the rapid reincorporation of the patient into his daily life, allows its repetition and is customizable.
High intensity focal ultrasound can be radical or focal. It is possible to decide to perform the radical treatment of the whole gland or using it only in the affected area. The intention is preserving as much as possible the patient´s quality of life and limiting the impact of the applied energy on the surrounding tissues.
The fact of being a robotic treatment, which implies precision and safety, completes the list of benefits of this technique.
How effective is it?
Regarding its efficacy, experts measure it in terms of the PSA nadir (lowest value of the prostate-specific antigen) that we could reach after any treatment for prostate cancer. It has proved that after the application of HIFU technology is correlated in a very significative manner with survival.
What are the indications?
High intensity focal ultrasound is a great option for patients seeking an innovative therapeutic approach with a focal treatment of the disease that seeks to control it through strict monitoring. Moreover, it allows the possibility of repeating the procedure.
This technique is great for those who have experienced local cancer recurrence after treatment with external radiotherapy, brachytherapy, or hormonal block (cases of locally advanced tumours). In these cases, the HIFU technique is applied as adjuvant therapy for the reduction of a local tumour mass.
Also, HIFU is an option for patients with local recurrence after radical prostatectomy. This term refers to the surgical procedure for the partial or complete removal of the prostate.
What are the contraindications?
On the contrary, there are certain situations in which the use of this technique is contraindicated. We can mention rectum or anal surgeries that prevent the introduction of the rectal probe, when the patient has an artificial sphincter or a prosthetic penis. Also, in the presence of damage to the rectal wall from previous rectal or prostate treatments.
At the The Harley Street Hospital, we have some of the best specialists to perform High intensity focal ultrasound. Book an appointment to get a checkup.
You might also want to read: HIFU for Prostate Cancer Treatment. Pros and Cons