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High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)

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High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is an advanced treatment for prostate cancer that does not require surgery.

  • Alternative to surgery (prostatectomy)
  • Highly targeted treatment that kills cancer cells
  • You can go home on the same day 
  • Limits damage to nerves around the prostate

Birmingham Prostate Clinic are a team of leading urologists and oncologists, who specialise in diagnosing and treating prostate, bladder and kidney conditions.

Our consultants are here with specialist advice and seamless pathways to access the latest tests and treatments for prostate cancer, including HIFU.

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It’s time to get you the treatment plan you need. Our expert consultants are available for appointments to discuss your condition and the medical care that can help.

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What is HIFU?

HIFU is a focal therapy that targets and selectively destroy cancer in your prostate. This is different to surgery for prostate cancer because the prostate is not removed.

In HIFU, ultrasound energy is delivered by a probe in the rectum to very specific parts of your prostate that scans have shown to contain cancer cells.

These energy waves are focused to an area in the prostate which is to the size of a grain of rice, creating a high temperature that kills the cancer cells.

Benefits of HIFU for prostate cancer 

HIFU can treat small areas of prostate cancer found through an MRI scan and biopsy. These precise diagnostics support precise treatment, for the best possible outcomes. 

HIFU may be a good option for you if you want to avoid radical treatments like radiotherapy or surgery.

The main benefits of HIFU are:

  • It’s minimally invasive, as there’s no cutting or surgery
  • You are more likely to maintain erectile function than with surgery or radiotherapy
  • You can have treatment again if needed
  • You can still have surgery or radiotherapy if your cancer comes back
  • You can usually get back to normal activities within 1 – 2 weeks

The main disadvantages of HIFU are:

  • Cancer can occasionally recur in the treated area
  • A new cancer can appear in the untreated area
  • Surveillance is necessary with at least one more MRI scan post treatment
  • Urinary symptoms can occur for a short period of time if the urethra is included in the treatment area

Why choose Birmingham Prostate Clinic?

We are a leading group of urological experts with a seamless pathway for personalised prostate cancer treatments. Our consultants’ approach is to develop a treatment plan that considers what’s most important to you.

We know how important it is to receive personalised prostate cancer care. This means including what matters to you, whether that’s being close to home, minimising side effects, and offering the best possible outcomes. We are unique as a group of local prostate specialists who are experienced in high-quality prostate cancer surgery, radiotherapy for prostate cancer and focal therapy. This means you can talk to us about the full range of options to treat your prostate condition.

What to expect during treatment?

  • HIFU is done under general anaesthetic, so you won’t be awake
  • It usually takes 1-2 hours
  • You’ll wear a catheter for one week, which is a tube to help you urinate while your prostate recovers
  • You can usually go home the same day

Are there risks from my treatment?

HIFU is designed to minimise the risk of side effects by carefully targeting the cancer and avoiding healthy tissue.

Some people still have side effects, which can include:

  • Urinary symptoms, like needing to urinate often and urgently
  • Urinary incontinence lasting a few months 

Choosing this type of procedure to treat your prostate cancer may mean that you cannot have certain types of surgery in the future if your cancer comes back.

Your consultant will be able to fully explain all of your treatment options and how these can affect you and your health.

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How can we help?

Get in touch with our friendly team to find out more about tests or treatment, or to book an appointment with an expert consultant near you.