What is High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure, How Does it Work, Its Side Effects

What Is High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure?

Many cancer patients are asked to undergo High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure by the doctor. Wondering what is a HIFU procedure? A High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) procedure is the latest non-invasive therapeutic technique of removing cancerous prostate tissue. It uses non-ionizing ultrasonic waves to heat the tissue, which further helps to increase perfusion or destroy tissues, like tumors, through certain mechanisms. HIFU technology can be used to treat an array of disorders. High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure is currently at different stages of development and commercialization. Men with cancer which has not spread beyond the prostate can undergo this HIFU surgical procedure. The doctor can suggest it either before the cancer patient has tried other treatments or after radiation therapy has proven ineffective. High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure can also be done if the cancer relapses in the prostate. However, HIFU cannot be used when the cancer has spread to other parts of the patient’s body.

How Does High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure Work?

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure works like a magnifying glass, which is used to reflect the sound waves to start a small fire or burn a hole into a leaf. Instead of light rays, HIFU uses sound waves which a doctor directs through the rectal wall, at all the cancer cells. The sound waves from HIFU reach temperatures as high as 90° F and kill cancer cells within a few seconds. To understand where to direct the sound waves in HIFU procedure, the doctors use MRI and ultrasound imaging to identify the exact location of the tumor.

What Happens in High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure?

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure usually takes 1 to 4 hours to be completed. Before the High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound procedure is started, enema is given to the patient to ensure that their bowels are empty. Patient is not allowed to eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the HIFU surgery. The entire HIFU procedure is conducted after giving anaesthesia to the patient. In High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure, the doctor first threads a small tube, known as catheter, through the head of the patient’s penis and into their bladder to hold urine during the procedure. Then a small instrument called ultrasound probe, which contains 1 or 2 crystals, is inserted into the rectum. These crystals send focused sound waves through the rectal wall into the glands, which rebound to a computer to create a clear picture of the prostate gland. An MRI may also be conducted in the HIFU procedure to keep track of the treatment. Once the procedure is done and the effect of anaesthesia wears off, the patient is usually allowed to go home. The doctor can leave the catheter in, and then remove it after a week.

What are the Side Effects of High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound or HIFU Procedure?

Compared to other prostate cancer treatments, High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure has fewer side effects. Patients can experience a problem in getting an erection, post HIFU procedure. However, this is a temporary problem, which usually goes away in time with the help of medicines. Some men also have trouble in urinating and can leak urine between trips to the bathroom too after the High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure or HIFU Procedure. They can have bloody urine, urine infection, and even an infection in their testicles post HIFU procedure. At times, patient can also experience pain between their testicles and rectum, which can mostly be handled with medication. When experiencing any of these signs after having undergone HIFU procedure, the patient should immediately call their doctor.

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