High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound for Prostate Cancer (HIFU) is the latest non-invasive, outpatient treatment modality for prostate cancer that uses energy from a highly focused ultrasound to precisely pinpoint, heat, and destroy the prostate cancer cells. This targets only the diseased tissue and does not harm the healthy tissue. HIFU for prostate cancer is recommended when the cancer is limited to a specific area and has not spread to other areas beyond the prostate, which is determined through prostate MRI and targeted prostate biopsy. HIFU is also used as an alternate or follow-up treatment where other treatments like surgery or radiation therapy have not worked.
Through this article, we will walk you through the HIFU for prostate cancer, how it is performed, and the cost aspects.
Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:
- What is high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)?
- What does HIFU for prostate cancer treatment look like?
- Recovery and Results
- HIFU for prostate cancer treatment cost
1. What is high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)?
High-intensity focused ultrasound is a medical procedure using ultrasound waves to treat prostate cancer. One can understand it by comparing it to a magnifying glass that focuses its light on a target area. Similarly, in HIFU treatment, multiple high-intensity ultrasound beams focus precisely on that tissue area that needs treatment. This energy causes the tissue temperature to increase (around 85 degrees Celsius), and the heat created destroys the diseased tissue. The beauty is that this treatment is radiation-free, and the ultrasound beams do not harm the healthy tissue.
2. What does HIFU for prostate cancer treatment look like?
Before starting the HIFU treatment, it is important to ensure that the bowels are empty. Therefore an enema is given before the procedure, and eating and drinking must be avoided for at least 6 hours. General/ spinal anesthesia is used for maximum comfort.
- You will be asked to lie on the right-hand side of the urologist as he inserts a finger-sized gel-coated ultrasound probe into your rectum (Backside) and positions it to your prostate level.
- An imaging transducer in the center of the probe scans your prostate and creates a three-dimensional computerized image of your entire prostate and the area to be treated.
- After a thorough analysis, the urologist creates a precise plan of action, which is implemented through focused ultrasound beams on the targeted tissue.
- One beam lasts for around 20 seconds and kills about a rice grain size of the tissue at a time. Therefore a series of beams are targeted until all the diseased tissue is destroyed.
- The procedure takes around 2-3 hours but depends upon the tissue size that needs treatment.
- The HIFU machine has many safety checks, which are continuously monitored throughout the procedure to ensure your safety.
3. Recovery and Results of HIFU.
After the HIFU treatment procedure:
- You will need to rest while the effects of all medications wear off and will be monitored for a few hours before you can go home.
- Avoid driving for 24-48 hours after the procedure.
- You can resume a normal diet after 6-7 hours.
- Normal activities and some casual walking can be resumed after 2-3 days, but you must avoid strenuous activities for a few weeks.
- Antibiotics are prescribed to prevent any infection in the urinary tract, pain medications are given to manage pain, and laxatives to help empty your bowels.
- You may experience some discomfort, mild bleeding at the start of urination, urine leakage during sneezing or coughing, trouble with getting an erection, and rarely fever, but these after-effects usually disappear in a few weeks.
- The doctor may leave the catheter for a week until the swelling subsides and you can urinate properly and instruct you for proper catheter care.
- The results are reviewed by a urologist through PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) tests and prostate MRI and confirmed by biopsy.
- Follow-up is required every 3 months to check for any changes in the cancer cells’ activity.
4. HIFU for prostate cancer treatment cost.
The HIFU treatment cost in India is reasonable but depends upon various factors like:
- Size of the prostate area to be treated: Bigger area and difficult to reach location will need more intensity and more repetitions of shots and thus have more cost.
- The doctor’s credentials: The more qualified and better-experienced doctor will be more expensive and have more precision and better results.
- Location of the hospital: The cost differs for different regions and cities where the hospital is located.
- Other costs: Medication and anesthesia costs will add to the final cost.
- If additional therapies are needed: In the case of a large tumor, sometimes laser and Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) may be recommended, increasing the cost.
On average, the best quality HIFU treatment in India ranges from INR 4,50000 to INR 17,00000
- Is the HIFU procedure painful?
Since the procedure is noninvasive, i.e., without any cuts and wounds, and done under general or spinal anesthesia, it is not painful. Only mild discomfort and pain may be felt after the procedure, which can be managed by medications. Being radiation-free, it also does not cause any burning sensation.
- What are the benefits and risks associated with HIFU?
The benefits include:
- It is a non–invasive and radiation-free procedure.
- Only the cancerous tissue is destroyed, while healthy tissue is left untouched.
- Only a short hospital stay is required.
The risks are usually short term and settle down in a few weeks:
- Erection issues.
- Urinary problems and infections
- Blood in the urine.
Sometimes Rectal fistula (a hole develops between the back passage and the urethra)
Regular follow-up and early detection will minimize these concerns to a large extent.
- Are there any contraindications of this treatment?
- When it has spread to other parts of the body.
- If there is a large prostate, various options like TURP, laser, and hormonal therapy can be added.
- If the cancerous area is anteriorly located and reach is difficult.
Your urologist will assess and guide you on your eligibility.
- Is HIFU a safe procedure?
It is a safe procedure as approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), also according to various studies published in national and international journals like Indian Journal of Urology, World Journal of Urology, Journal of Clinical Urology, etc. have shown it to be a safe and an effective treatment modality.
Visit Urethra Clinic, which aims to impart the best guidance, care, and world-class treatment for all urological problems, including prostate cancer, is considered the top urology clinic in Delhi. The doctor’s team is highly qualified and skilled, headed by Dr. Vikram Batra Shah, who has over 10 years of clinical experience and is the Best Uro Cancer Surgeon In Delhi.The clinic is fully equipped with the state of art technology and equipment with laparoscopic and robotic techniques. High standards of care, privacy, comfort, and hygiene are maintained to help you achieve the best results at an affordable cost.