High Intensity Focused Ultrasound is the technology currently leading the way in the expanding field of focal prostate therapy.
The ability to selectively destroy (by heating or ablation) important areas of cancer within the prostate whilst preserving prostate tissue carries with it the benefit of reduced harm. The results thus far are very promising with the vast majority (over 90%) maintaining sexual function. The risks of incontinence, which is something not infrequently encountered after radical prostatectomy, are less than 1 in 200. The procedure can be performed as a day-case under general anaesthetic with early return to normal activities. Furthermore, it does not upset the waterworks or cause irritation in the long term.
We also have experience of two other new techniques; vascular targeted photodynamic therapy and electroporation. These are possible alternatives to HIFU for the focal destruction of cancers. Both of these are in the development stage at the present time.
The benefits of ultrasound energy are also that it can be repeated if necessary at a later time if ever required – something that is not possible after radiotherapy treatment.