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Prostate Cancer and the HIFU Treatment

High intensity focused ultrasound, also known as HIFU for short, is an updated technology to assist men diagnosed with prostate cancer. It provides an acoustic ablation technique that utilizes the power of ultrasound waves to get rid of cancerous tissue on and around the prostate with fine accuracy. The targeted area is focused on using sound waves, allowing HIFU to increase the temperature of the tissue, causing it to completely break down.

Because of HIFU’s control and precision, the overall risk of negative side effects connected with other prostate cancer treatments are greatly reduced, including erectile dysfunction and incontinence. Men only have to set aside up to three hours for the HIFU process and it is listed as an out-patient procedure. The HIFU process is often done in one sitting and minimal spinal or epidural anesthesia is used just to limit discomfort of the rectal probe. There is no actual radiation associated with HIFU – it is non-ionizing, which means that this treatment can be used more than one without damaging healthy tissue. Because it can be used when necessary, many physicians look at HIFU as an alternative method if other prostate cancer treatment options do not work.

Sonablate 500 is the most popular HIFU system used in the treatment of prostate cancer. This device is controlled by a computer and it delivers HIFU energy at the prostate through a rectal probe that removes all the cancer-infected tissue in the region. The technology found in the Sonablate 500 uses integrated biplanar ultrasound imaging which provides planning and monitoring in real-time as well as images of the location of the prostate both before as well as after the treatment.

The action of the HIFU is comparable to the action of focusing sunlight through a magnifying lens. HIFU provides precise focusing of ultrasound energy during the therapy session which increases the core temperature of the tissue that is located in the focal zone. This is done at a quick pace and all intervening tissue located around the focal zone remain safe and do not undergo an increase in temperature. In the end, there is a precise lesion within the target area that can be easily monitored by the cancer physician. Before undergoing HIFU therapy, a plan is created to determine all the areas that harbor cancerous tissue. Many physicians like the HIFU system because its high imaging resolution allows physicians to easily identify all vital structures, including neurovascular bundles, rectal wall, and seminal vesicles, and guarantee that only the affected areas will be targeted without causing unnecessary damage.

Prior to the HIFU Treatment, patients are required to undergo two enemas two hours prior to the procedure. Because the patients need to remain still all through the duration of the treatment, a light anesthetic is given. A small rectal probe is inserted into the patient that emits ultrasound waves that bounce off the tissue. During the procedure, real-time images are provided by the Sonablate 500 of all the areas in and around the prostate. This offers the physician with immediate, detailed feedback. When the procedure is done, individuals often need roughly two hours to fully recover from the anesthesia before being sent home. After a few days, they can go back to their regular life.


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