Frequently Asked Questions About HIFU

How Does HIFU Work?

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) uses ultrasound energy, or sound waves, to heat and destroy specifically targeted areas of cancerous tissue in the prostate. HIFU will ablate any tissue that the physician targets with the device during treatment planning.

Do I Qualify For HIFU?

Only a physician can determine if you qualify for HIFU. Typically, men with localized prostate cancer (tumor has not spread outside of the prostate gland) may be candidates for HIFU. Your physician may also consider you a candidate for HIFU if you have a PSA of 20 or less and a Gleason score of 7 or less. Talk to your doctor to see if HIFU is right for you. 

What are the Benefits of HIFU?

  • Low risk of side effects such as erectile dysfunction and incontinence often associated with radiation therapy or surgery.
  • No damage to surrounding tissues or organs.

  • HIFU can be repeated, if necessary, without damaging healthy tissue.

  • One treatment with HIFU compared to multiple treatments sessions with radiation therapy/IMRT.

  • Outpatient procedure usually performed in one to four hours.

  • Radiation free.

  • No blood loss.

  • Quick recovery and return to normal activity within a few days.

  • HIFU does not preclude other treatment options; men who choose HIFU and then require additional therapies still have other treatment options available. 

How Do I Prepare For the HIFU Procedure?

Before begining the HIFU treatment, your doctor will go over your medical history, have you complete blood work and other lab tests, and order an EKG in preparation for undergoing anesthesia. After the procedure has been scheduled, a nurse will provide detailed information regarding diet, medications and any additional lab work or tests that may be required.

How Long Does the HIFU Procedure Take?

The length of the procedure depends on the size of the prostate gland. Larger glands will take longer to treat completely. A way to estimate time is 1 hour for every 10 grams of tissue to be treated. That works out to an average of 1-4 hours.

Does the HIFU Procedure Hurt?

Throughout the HIFU procedure, you will be under anesthesia to maximize your comfort and ensure a pain-free experience.  Some patients may experience minor discomfort after the procedure. 

What is the Recovery Like?

Most patients return to normal activity in a few days following the HIFU procedure. Every individual is different, so recovery time may vary depending on the stage and location of the prostate disease. After the procedure, you will spend a few hours in the recovery room of the ambulatory surgery center before being discharged home. Most men have a catheter inserted after the procedure which will remain in place for one to three weeks. The catheter allows the bladder to empty comfortably while your body heals. You may experience urinary frequency, urgency, mild discomfort or discharge in your urinary stream.

When Can I Go Back to Work and Normal Activities?

Men may return to office-based work and drive the following day. More intense physical activity can resume in 3-5 days, though no activity should be started that dislodges the catheter or stirs up bleeding from the catheter insertion site.

What Type of Follow-Up Care is Necessary After HIFU?

Following your procedure, one of our nurses will call you to ensure you are recovering comfortably and ask if you have any questions or concerns. Additionally, you will need to make an appointment several weeks after your procedure to have your catheter removed, and then return for visits at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months to have your PSA tested.

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