HIFU For Prostate Cancer

What is HIFU?

HIFU, which stands for high intensity focused ultrasound, is a method of focusing sound waves to create heat at a specific point away from the energy source; this point is called the focal point.  


When HIFU energy is delivered to a specific location within the body, the tissue temperature at the focal point is elevated to nearly 195 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of seconds, resulting in tissue destruction, while the tissue outside the focal point remains unharmed.  

Animation shows how HIFU is delivered to the prostate to create small lesions at the focal point where that is a rapid elevation in heat.


A small probe is placed in the rectum in order to capture real-time images of the prostate gland. A transducer moves robotically in the probe tip so the probe is never moved during HIFU. 


The physician maps out a persnalized treatment plan for each patient creating treatment zones in order to ablate all or some of the prostate depending on diagnosis. 


Ultrasound energy is focused to the prostate according to physician plan. At each focal point a small lesion is formed where tissue is destroyed. These lesions are places side by side until all targeted tissue is destroyed.


Who Qualifies for HIFU?

While only a physician can determine if you qualify for HIFU or not, typically men with a prostate gland of less than 40 grams with localized prostate cancer (tumor has not spread outside of the prostate gland) may be candidates for HIFU.  The other information that physicians usually look at to determine if you qualify for HIFU is a PSA of 20 or less and a Gleason score of 7 or less. It is best to talk with a HIFU nurse or doctor to determine if you might qualify for HIFU. 

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© 2016 Michael Wolff, MD

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