The HIFU Treatment
Before HIFU: Preparation for HIFU begins with 24 hours prior to treatment. My patients begin a clear liquid diet on the morning prior to their treatment. The administration of 2 FLEETS enemas two hours prior to the procedure ensures that the rectal cavity is clean and free of any debris that can block passage of the sound waves into the prostate gland. An antibiotic pill is prescribed to begin on the evening prior to the treatment.
During HIFU: Precision HIFU treatment requires that the patient be absolutely still. Therefore, a general anesthetic is administered during the procedure. A catheter will be inserted into the urethra or in some cases though the abdominal wall (Suprapubic tube) in order to ensure urinary drainage. I will insert a small probe (HIFU transducer) into the rectum that sends ultrasound waves directly through the rectal wall and into the prostatic tissue. During the procedure, the Sonablate® 500 delivers real-time images of your prostate and the surrounding area giving me immediate and detailed feedback. Treatment time varies, but generally the procedure lasts a few hours, depending on the size of the prostate. The new TCM (tissue change monitoring) software allows me to determine the effectiveness of each HIFU pulse in order to ensure that the targeted tissue was successfully treated.
After HIFU: Immediately after Sonablate® HIFU procedure most patients typically spend one to two hours recovering at the treatment facility and then are discharged. At that time I will prescribe some basic medications, but most patients do not experience any pain after the procedure. You will be discharged with the catheter in place as it will be necessary to ensure that the bladder empties properly in the early post HIFU recovery. This catheter will remain in place anywhere from a few days time up to a few weeks time based on the extent of your HIFU treatment and the size of your prostate. In cases of targeted focal treatment, the catheter is only needed for a few days.
Post HIFU care: You will be in close contact me with during the initial recovery phase. If you live a significant distance from Sarasota, you will be speaking with me every few days until I give you the green light to have your local physician remove your catheter (this is a simple process). If you are local to Sarasota, you will be followed very closely in my office. You will have your first PSA blood test at 3 months post procedure. This 3 month PSA test represents your new baseline or nadir (low point) level and I will ask you to get your PSA every 3 months in year 1 post HIFU and every 6 months thereafter. If you live at a significant distance from Sarasota, it would be ideal to see me personally a visit at the time of your 1-year anniversary post HIFU.
Potential Side Effects and Complications
All treatments for prostate cancer carry some risk for potential side effects and complications. Side effects include frequency, urgency, mild discomfort or discharge in urinary stream or urinary infection in the first few weeks after HIFU. Studies performed outside the US report that less common side effects (these may be more severe) may also include urinary stricture (scar formation in the urinary channel), urinary retention, incontinence (1 – 1.5%), impotence (up to 25% risk) and rectal fistula (very rare: less than 0.5%). Focal or partial gland treatments carry a lower risk of side effects if you are a candidate for that type of HIFU treatment. As with any medical procedure, all potential side effects and complications should be discussed with your HIFU physician before undergoing therapy. For a complete list of all possible risks associated with HIFU please refer to www.InternationalHIFU.com.
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