Frequently Asked Questions
HIFU treatment is performed under general or spinal anesthesia. A probe is introduced in the rectum and the imaging transducer starts the gland scanning to plan the treatment. The treatment transducer then emits high intensity focused ultrasound in the prostate gland. At the point where the ultrasound waves are focused, the absorption of the ultrasound beam creates a sudden temperature increase (around 185°F) which destroys the tissue in the targeted zone.
HIFU is recommended for:
- First-line treatment of T1-T2 patients who are not suitable or do not want surgery
- Salvage treatment for local recurrence after Radiotherapy or radical prostatectomy
- Focal treatment of a well localized/well defined tumor in both first-line and salvage strategy
The treatment itself is not painful as it is carried out under spinal or general anesthesia. Pain at the end of the treatment is rare, although most patients feel a slight discomfort which resolves after a few days. The procedure is non-invasive so there are no incision or scar and patients do not experience the burning sensation often associated with radiotherapy.
Usually PSA levels are checked every three months and a biopsy is undertaken six to twelve months after treatment. If cancer cells remain (10 to 15% of cases), a second HIFU treatment is likely to be given a minimum of six months after the first treatment.
Non-invasive medical technologies are intended to deliver at least the same level of clinical efficiency as traditional invasive techniques without some of the downfalls in terms of quality of life for the patient. The clinical experience gathered for more than 15 years, shows that HIFU fits perfectly in this category with an excellent risk/benefit ratio:
- Efficiency : the literature published since 2000 – year of Ablatherm® HIFU CE marking – shows reproducible and consistent results with long term survival results comparable to the standard treatment of Prostate Cancer
- Salvage HIFU shows promising local control with 80% negative biopsies combined with good specific survival rate at 5 years: 78% and 49.5% for low and intermediate-risk patients, respectively.
- Quality of life: a literature analysis since 2000 demonstrates that HIFU is an excellent tool for preserving quality of life with low morbidity and few side effects.
Trials of HIFU treatment have found few side effects. The healthy surrounding cells are not destroyed along with the cancerous cells and the procedure is non-invasive (does not involve any incision through the skin). This means only a short hospital stay is required and you will be able to return to normal activity after only a few days. The reported side effects are: Incontinence, Urinary retention, Urinary tract infections and Erectile Dysfunction. HIFU side effects compare favorably with more invasive therapies.