HIFU or high intensity focused ultrasound is a treatment for localised prostate cancer that used high energy ultrasound waves to heat the prostate and destroy the cancer. The treatment is suitable for patients with untreated prostate cancer but also for those who have developed a recurrence after previous radiotherapy. Additionally if previous detailed biopsies (Template biopsies) show that the cancer is just in one particular location within the prostate it is possible to treat just that portion (Focal Therapy) thereby reducing side effects.
The procedure is performed under a general anesthetic and takes about 2.5 hours. A probe is placed transrectally and a detailed ultrasound map is taken of the prostate. Careful planning occurs to decide the precise location where the treatment will take place but once this has been done the machine delivers the treatment robotically. A burst of high energy ultrasound is delivered from the probe that causes local heating and cigar shaped burns to the prostate destroying the tissue. This is repeated many times across the whole prostate until the treatment is completed.