Being somewhat new and requiring special skills and equipment, much is still being learned about how well it works and any side effects.
HIFU has not been approved for general use in the United States to treat prostate cancer and is usually only available in clinical studies. It is not offered at all hospitals. If you’re interested in it, it’s worth checking if your health insurance will cover it.
You’ll be put under a general anesthetic, and a urologist will insert a small ultrasound probe into the rectum. The urologist uses this probe to clearly see the prostate and then directs the heating energy to the part of the prostate that contains cancer.
There are 2 types of HIFU:
focal and whole prostate
Focal HIFU treats a smaller area of the prostate and takes around 1 or 2 hours. It is best for men who only need treatment in one specific area of their prostate. Areas of the prostate which don’t have cancer are not treated, and this reduces the potential for side effects.
Whole prostate HIFU
Whole prostate HIFU treats the entire prostate, and takes about 3 hours.
You should be able to head home the same day as your treatment, although you will need a catheter for a few days.
If you have localized prostate cancer (cancer that hasn’t spread outside the prostate), or prostate cancer that's come back after radiation therapy, HIFU may be an option for you. But remember, this treatment is somewhat new and isn't available everywhere.
Your doctor can advise you on whether HIFU is a suitable treatment option and how you can access it.