High-intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

What is High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)?

High intensity focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is a treatment that tries to destroy cancer cells with high-frequency sound waves. HIFU does not pass through solid bone and air; therefore, it is not a suitable treatment for every cancer. This treatment is given by a machine, which emits high-frequency sound waves. These waves deliver a strong beam to a specific part of a cancer. The high-intensity Ultrasound beam is focused directly onto the cancer, which heats the cells and destroys them.

What types of cancers are treated with High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)?

HIFU is useful only for treating a single tumour or part of a large tumour. It can not be used for treating more widespread tumours. This means that HIFU is not suitable for cancer patients whose cancer has spread to more than one place in their body. It can be used to treat the following cancers:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Primary and secondary bone malignancy
  • Trans-cranial HIFU therapy for brain tumour

How is High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) done?

HIFU procedure needs a couple of hours to complete. You will receive anaesthesia and will not feel any Pain or discomfort during the procedure. Your doctor will use an Ultrasound probe. The probe may have one or two crystals inside. Sound waves emitted from one crystal will bounce back to form an image of the tumour, on the computer. This will show the location where the sound waves should be aimed at. Another crystal sends focused sound waves into the tumour. An MRI may be used to keep track of the treatment. After the procedure is complete and the anaesthesia effect wears off, you can go home.

What are the side effects of High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)?

Side effects due to HIFU are rare and may include:

  • Discomfort or Pain for 3 to 4 days after the procedure.
  • Soreness or difficulty in passing urine in case of Prostate Cancer.