Your HIFU Questions Answered
Commonly asked questions about HIFU, a non-invasive prostate cancer treatment.
1. How long has Sonablate® HIFU been done? Where?
HIFU was originally researched in the United States almost 50 years ago. Focus Surgery, Inc., the developers of Sonablate®, introduced the first application for prostate disease in the early 1990s with the Sonablate® 200. Worldwide, over 7,000 treatments have been done with the Sonablate®.
2. Is HIFU a one time procedure or do I have to return for multiple procedures?
HIFU with the Sonablate® is a one time procedure that lasts lasts 1-4 hours depending on the size of the gland, and whether Focal or Total Gland treatment is done. It is considered an out-patient procedure meaning that the patient can be discharged after he or she has recovered from the anesthesia.
3. What should I expect after I have HIFU?
Because Sonablate® HIFU is a minimally invasive procedure it has minimal side effects. During the first one to two weeks after the procedure, a patient may experience very mild urinary symptoms such as frequency and/or urgency to void. In the first three months, a patient may pass an occasional small amount of blood or mucus-like materials which is normal. A urinary catheter is inserted after he procedure and must be kept in place for 1-3 weeks.
4. Is this a type of radiation like brachytherapy?
Which one is a better minimally invasive procedure? HIFU is completely radiation free. Unlike radiation, ultrasound energy is non-ionizing meaning it will not harm any tissue outside of the targeted area.
5. During HIFU is the entire prostate destroyed or does the doctor only target the tumor or diseased area?
During the HIFU procedure, either the entire gland or just the known cancer area (focal therapy) will be ablated or destroyed. Because it can be very difficult to determine the exact location of the cancer or tumor within the prostate, the Sonablate® is usually programmed to target the entire gland. This also minimizes the chance for recurrence.
6. How do I know if I am a candidate for HIFU? What are the qualifications?
Like most prostate cancer therapies, there is an “ideal” candidate for HIFU. HIFU is most effective for patients with early stage prostate cancer where the cancer is localized to the prostate. It is recommended that you discuss your individual medical records and history with a HIFU certified physician in order to confirm whether or not you are a candidate for HIFU.
7. Is this procedure repeatable?
Yes, HIFU with the Sonablate® can be repeated if necessary. In most cases, Sonablate® HIFU is a one-time procedure, however, unlike radiation it will not prevent patients from having other treatments (radiation, cryotherapy etc) if needed.
8. What happens to the urethra during HIFU? Since it runs through the center of the prostate is it destroyed during the procedure?
During HIFU, the entire prostate is ablated, including the prostatic urethra. However, the urethra is derived from a different type of tissue (bladder squamous-type epithelium) rather than prostatic tissue (glandular, fibrotic and muscular) and does regenerate with time.
While the urethra is an important anatomical structure, the sphincter and bladder neck are more important to maintaining the urinary function. During HIFU the sphincter and bladder neck are identified and avoided.
9. How long will I have to stay in the hospital?
HIFU is an out-patient procedure and does not normally require any hospital stay. The procedure usually takes 1-4 hours and recovery time is 2-3 hours. After recovery, the patient is discharged.
Dr. Lazar now offers a HIFU Program in partnership with HIFU Prostate Services, LLC (HPS). HIFU Prostate Services, LLC (HPS) is a leading provider of minimally-invasive prostate cancer treatments using High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). HIFU prostate treatments are performed at San Francisco Surgery Center (SFSC). SFSC offers patients a state-of-the-art facility that is convenient to hotels and the airport.
Call Dr. Lazar at (707) 546-5553 or Lisa Nelson at 704- 248-7556 for more information and to learn if you qualify , or simply fill out and submit the form on our Contact Page.