High Intensity Focused Ultrasound

A non-invasive therapy for localised prostate cancer that offers an alternative to surgery


HIFU is a targeted treatment that focuses on the area of diseased prostate. It does not involve an incision and instead involves precision focused ultrasound waves, which raise the temperature of the target tissue to 80-90°C in two to three seconds. This effectively destroys the cancerous tissue.

Focal therapy treats the part of the prostate gland containing the clinically significant cancer using an ablation technique.

Some men have treatment to the whole prostate, and this is referred to as 'whole gland'. With whole gland treatment, there is increased certainty that all of the cancer has been treated.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    You'll need to take a bowel preparation medicine the day before the procedure. On the day you'll be given an enema to ensure your bowel is empty before the procedure. Under general anaesthetic, a probe will be inserted into your rectum. This emits a high intensity beam that elevates the temperature of the tissue that is being targeted. The rise in heat destroys the targeted cells. This process is then repeated until all the cancerous tissue has been destroyed. By repeating the application of the beam it is possible to destroy the whole tumor with minimal effects to your rectal wall. The procedure usually lasts between 1.5 and 4.5 hours.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will let you know how best to prepare for the treatment. This will involve a pre-operative assessment consultation with the nurse in clinic for your baseline measurements and health check questionnaire. Your nurse will provide you with information about the porcedure including any fasting requirements. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions or seek clarification on the procedure.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Once your surgeon has destroyed all of the cancer cells they will insert a catheter. This is necessary as there will be swelling in the area which will impede your ability to pass urine. The catheter must stay in place for up to three weeks, but you will be able to resume a normal lifestyle almost immediately. You can usually leave hospital the same day as treatment or the following day.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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