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HIFU – A Non-Surgical Treatment for Prostate Cancer

What is HIFU?

HIFU stands for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Therapy for Prostate Cancer. It’s a non-invasive treatment used by doctors to destroy abnormal tissue using high-frequency sound waves.

Why Use HIFU to Treat Prostate Cancer?

The use of HIFU to treat prostate cancer is a well established therapy. HIFU technology was first approved for the ablation of prostate tissue in Europe in 1994. Since then, tens of thousands of men the world over, have been successfully treated for localized prostate cancer using the HIFU procedure. Traditional treatments for localized prostate cancer include: radical surgery (either open or robotically assisted), radiation (either by external beam or by implantation of radioactive seeds, or brachytherapy), and cryoablation (freezing the prostate). While all of these treatments can be successful, they carry significant risks of erectile dysfunction (ED) and incontinence. As a non-surgical treatment for prostate cancer, the HIFU procedure seeks to minimize the risk of both ED and incontinence.

Certified HIFU Doctor

Dr. Clifford Gluck is a top-rated Boston Urologist with HIFU certification to treat men with prostate cancer. His success using High Intensity Focused Ultrasound for prostate cancer has made him the top choice of patients throughout the Boston area.


What to Expect During the HIFU Procedure?

Male patients of Dr. Clifford Gluck who are getting the HIFU procedure for prostate cancer are put completely asleep, and lying comfortably on their right side. Dr. Gluck uses the Ablatherm device (EDAP, France) which is under robotic control and is extremely accurate with tissue ablation. An outpatient procedure, HIFU usually takes about 2-3 hours. There is one, single probe, inserted gently next to the prostate, and both imaging and treatment can be done simultaneously. This imaging advantage, using exquisite high definition ultrasound (which can also be paired with MRI images on some machines), allows Dr. Gluck to see the nerves of erection (neurovascular bundles) which lie next to the prostate. Using the Ablatherm device, Dr. Gluck can ablate the prostate tissue, but spare the neurovascular bundles. The result is to minimize ED post-operatively. Dr. Gluck can also clearly visualize the sphincter mechanism, and avoid it, to optimally preserve continence.

Is HIFU a Good Non-Surgical Treatment for Prostate Cancer?

Tens of thousands of patients around the world have been successfully treated for prostate cancer with the HIFU procedure. It has been shown to be an effective non surgical treatment, with the least amount of adverse side effects compared to surgery, radiation, or cryoablation.

Is HIFU for Prostate Cancer Safe?

Many patients have come to Dr. Clifford Gluck for an opinion on HIFU, noting that their own doctors were dismissive or failed to mention it as a treatment option. The HIFU procedure was approved in October 2015 by the FDA for ablation of prostate tissue. Currently, it is exclusively used for the ablation of prostate tissue in cases of prostate cancer. There are more than 100 scientific papers, in peer-reviewed journals, attesting to the safety and efficacy of the HIFU procedure as a non-surgical treatment for prostate cancer. In the three largest studies, representing more than 2200 patients, the 10 year cancer-specific survival and the 10 year metastasis free survival was equivalent to radical prostatectomy.

The Benefits of the HIFU Procedure for Prostate Cancer

  1. Ablates prostate tissue with laser-like precision
  2. Analogous to a breast lumpectomy, a man can retain the normal part of his prostate, while eliminating the cancerous part.
  3. Less risk of side effects.
  4. Can be used for partial gland, or “focal” treatment

HIFU Focal Treatment

Many men with a “low or intermediate grade” prostate cancer are on Active Surveillance . Their doctors are observing their prostates for any signs of progression, either in the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood value, or by rectal exam with a finger (digital rectal exam, or DRE). Men on Active Surveillance require periodic repeat prostate biopsy. Another choice could be HIFU Focal Treatment, for men who would prefer to treat their cancer instead of worrying about it growing or spreading. In a recent study from Goldberg, et al, (Current Opinion Urology, Jan 2018), patients on Active Surveillance experienced a 50% rate of progression.

Patient Testimonials on HIFU for Prostate Cancer

For more information on the HIFU procedure for prostate cancer, a non-surgical treatment, please visit our Patient Testimonials listed below.