What is High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)?

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU, is an FDA approved therapy that destroys tissue with rapid heat elevation, which essentially “cooks” the tissue. Ultrasound energy, or sound waves, is focused at a specific location and at that “focal point,” the temperature raises to almost 90 degrees Celsius in a matter of seconds. Any tissue at the “focal point” is destroyed; however, any tissue outside of the focal point remains unharmed.

HIFU has produced oncological results that are broadly comparable to standard therapies and HIFU is the only non invasive prostate cancer therapy that does not use ionizing radiation11, which can be potentially harmful.


Advantages of HIFU:

  • No blood loss
  • Quick recovery
  • Non-surgical
  • Radiation-free
  • An outpatient procedure

11 Illing, R., Chapman, A. The clinical applications of high intensity focused ultrasound in the prostate. Int. J. Hyperthermia, March 2007; 23(2):183-191.

HIFU has therapeutic advantages over traditional prostate cancer therapies.

  • Takes only one to four hours, depending on prostate size
  • Performed as an out-patient procedure under a spinal (epidural) anesthesia
  • Recovery time is minimal
  • Patients are usually up and walking around within hours after the procedure and may return to a normal lifestyle within a couple of days
  • A catheter is inserted during the procedure and usually worn for one to four weeks


Sonablate® HIFU

The Sonablate® is a non-invasive medical device developed by Focus Surgery, Inc. (Indianapolis, IN), that uses high intensity focused ultrasound to treat prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The Sonablate® is a revolutionary way to treat prostate cancer – and a safer treatment for the thousands of men who will be diagnosed with the disease.

HIFU is Precise and Controlled

The Sonablate® obtains real-time ultrasound images of the prostate and surrounding areas. From these images, the doctor plans where the ultrasound energy will be delivered. The Sonablate® software allows the surgeon to visually direct the treatment and precisely define the treatment zones in order to destroy the entire gland or selected portions (focal therapy).

Unlike radiation, HIFU is non-ionizing so it can be repeated, if necessary, without damaging healthy tissue. This means that HIFU can also be used as a salvage technique if other prostate cancer treatments fail.

The Sonablate® is the only non-invasive HIFU device for prostate cancer that does not require a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), an invasive surgical procedure for moderate and large prostates, prior to treatment in order to achieve effective results. The Sonablate® is also the only visually directed HIFU device.

Who is a Candidate for HIFU with the Sonablate®?

Primary Diagnosis

Sonablate® HIFU is most effective for men who have early stage, localized prostate cancer that has not spread or metastasized outside the prostate. However, it is recommended that you discuss your individual medical records and history with a physician in order to confirm whether or not you are a candidate for HIFU.

HIFU for Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Many patients who have had radiation therapy, brachytherapy or external beam radiation and experience a rise in PSA have discovered that the cancer is back. These patients may be candidates for HIFU as well, as long as the cancer has not spread to the bone or other organs.

Additionally, patients who have a local recurrence after receiving a radical prostatectomy may qualify for HIFU.

Dr. Michael Lazar, a Santa Rosa urologist and prostate cancer expert, is the only Northern California physician recognized as a leader in the use of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for prostate cancer. He has been successfully treating patients with HIFU since 2007.

lazar close up“I invite you to contact me at my office in Northern California to begin discussing your prostate cancer treatment options.”

Call (707) 546-5553, or fill out our contact form.