High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)/Focal Therapy

Urologists & Sexual Medicine Experts located in Beverly Grove, Los Angeles, CA

closeup of a machine used for minimally invasive cancer treatment

If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, one of the many concerns you may have is just how much treatment will affect your everyday life. Only so many years ago, even early stages of prostate cancer were treated aggressively, resulting in over-treatment and uncomfortable side effects that negatively impact quality of life, including erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.

At Comprehensive Urology in Los Angeles, our team of urologists has extensive training and experience, as well as access to the most advanced treatment technologies available for prostate cancer, such as high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). We assess every patient’s needs and circumstances for personalized HIFU treatment plans focused on minimally invasive procedures and quality of life preservation.

To learn more about how HIFU could be right for you, contact us at (310) 499-2756 or book through our online appointment system.

Table of Contents

What is HIFU?

High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a procedure in which high frequency ultrasound waves are used to heat and destroy cancer cells within the prostate. The HIFU probe is inserted into the rectum and placed at the correct position near the prostate using computer imaging. The HIFU focuses on a small location no bigger than a grain of rice and heats to nearly 100 degrees Celsius within three seconds. The highly focused treatment area ensures that tissue outside of the focal point is untouched as the HIFU ultrasound waves pass through the body without causing harm.

The HIFU procedure can treat the entire prostate, or only parts that have cancer cells. Depending on the area being treated, the HIFU procedure can take between one to four hours.

Because HIFU uses a focal therapy technique, urologists in Los Angeles are able to provide pinpoint ultrasound treatment to cancer cells. By doing so, only cancerous tissues is treated by the HIFU process, which results in effective treatment targeting the issue and allowing for surrounding healthy tissue to be preserved. By doing so, prostate health and function has a far greater degree of successfully recovering from HIFU treatment, which will allow patients to resume a healthy everyday life, unlike the results of some other forms of cancer treatment that affect bowel function.

What are the Benefits of HIFU?

High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for prostate cancer is an ideal treatment for those that have not had the cancer cells spread beyond the prostate gland.

Unlike other treatments, such as surgery or radiation, patients can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Precise, targeted ultrasound therapy ensures that only cancer cells are affected
  • Ultrasound waves do not harm surrounding tissue
  • Reduced recovery time as only minimal cell damage is caused to the prostate
  • Minimal side effects
  • No hospital stay (outpatient procedure)
  • Better preserved bladder control
  • Reduced risk of erectile dysfunction

HIFU for prostate cancer is one of the latest treatment options available, so it is crucial to work with a urologist that has extensive experience and training to ensure the best possible outcomes. At Comprehensive Urology, our specialists will discuss potential treatment options and the pros and cons of HIFU to help our patients make an informed, confident decision about their care.

Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases among men in the United States, but fortunately, when diagnosed in its earliest stages, can be safely and successfully treated with HIFU. At Comprehensive Urology, our expert urologists understand that it is not enough to simply beat cancer, but it is equally as important to preserve a patient’s quality of life as much as possible, which is why we are proud to offer focal cancer therapy such as HIFU. State-of-the-art focal therapies like HIFU allow us to effectively remove cancer tissue while leaving as much healthy tissue intact.

To set up an appointment with our skilled team for HIFU or for a thorough diagnostic consultation, please do not hesitate to call our office in Beverly Hills at (310) 499-2756 today!

What is Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer?

Also known as prostate preservation, focal therapy is a number of non-invasive techniques that are designed to target specific areas of cancer within the prostate while leaving normal tissue and function intact. Focal therapy typically requires only minimal incisions or injury to the gland itself, which ensures that patients will have a much shorter recovery time than those who undergo more aggressive procedures.

In order to determine whether focal therapy is appropriate, our skilled urologists will conduct a thorough evaluation of the patient’s tumor size and location. Focal therapy is recommended only for small, localized tumors in which the gland can be preserved as much as possible.

Types of Prostate Cancer Focal Therapies

Our urologists are highly trained and experienced in performing the following types of focal therapy proven to achieve the best possible results when treating prostate cancer.

MRI Fusion Biopsy – Combining detailed MRI scans with real-time ultrasound images, our physicians will have a clear image of the prostate and can then carefully take biopsy samples from precise locations, rather than taking larger samples.

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound – Using MRI scans to get a clear image of the prostate, energy sound waves are directed at the tumor to heat and eliminate the cancerous tissue.

Focal Cryoablation – Using a thin probe, we can accurately place a substance around the tumor that will freeze and kill it. This technique is ideal for small areas within the prostrate and causes minimal side effects while also preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.

Electrovaporization – Cancer tissue is eliminated with focused electric currents using a device called the NanoKnife. The electric current cause small openings that kill the tumor cells.

After treatment, our team in Los Angeles will continue to monitor each patient’s recovery and progress for signs of recurrence of cancer tissue. It may be necessary to conduct further tests and follow-up biopsies to ensure that the focal therapy was effective.

Active Surveillance

Screening Tests are important in diagnosing prostate cancers. They consist of a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a blood test called PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen).

In order to maintain a patient’s quality of life (and avoid over-treating patients), some patients with early-stage disease have been placed on active surveillance. Under active surveillance, patients are not treated immediately. Instead, they are monitored closely, and with repeat biopsies, the volume and aggressiveness of their prostate cancer is monitored. Treatment is then offered when a patient’s prostate cancer volume increases or if the aggressiveness of the prostate cancer worsens (or if the patient no longer wants to remain on active surveillance). At that time, either surgery or radiation therapy is provided to the entire prostate gland with the potential side effects as listed above (impotence, loss of urinary control, change in ejaculation, etc.).

One of the shortcomings with an active surveillance approach is that because patients are not being treated promptly and treatment is delayed until there is further progression of their cancer (either in terms of volume or aggressiveness), it’s possible that they will ultimately develop more volume of disease. If this happens, a patient’s chance of being cured is decreased, and their prostate cancer can actually spread outside the prostate where it is no longer curable. Because of the delay in treatment, the outcomes for a number of patients on active surveillance will be less than optimal.

Clearly, a middle ground has to be available for patients with prostate cancer. On one hand, we do not want to over-treat patients with prostate cancer, but we do not want to delay treatment to the point that patients have lost the chance of being cured, either.

Prostate Cancer Screening

  • Our physician performs a digital rectal exam by gently inserting a gloved finger into the rectum. The prostate is located in front of the rectum, and the back wall can be examined for abnormalities with a “rectal exam”. Under normal conditions, the prostate should have a rubbery consistency and should have a smooth contour. If the prostate feels abnormal, such as having a hard consistency, having nodules (abnormal bumps on its surface), or having an irregular border, then the prostate will have to be further evaluated (such as having a biopsy of the prostate). These findings can be hallmarks of a developing cancer in the prostate.
  • PSA is a substance produced in the prostate gland and a small amount of it circulates in the blood. If a man’s PSA is high, it may be an indicator that there are cancer cells. Therefore, typically a man who is found to have an elevated PSA level will need to undergo further evaluation. This may include a biopsy to determine if there are cancer cells in the prostate. If a man with prostate cancer is diagnosed early, his chances for cure are dramatically better. Most early cancers can be detected using this blood test, and it is currently the best screening tool available for detecting early prostate cancer.


If your DRE or PSA results are abnormal or suspicious for cancer, the next step usually is to obtain a biopsy of the prostate. The biopsy involves taking several small samples of tissue from different areas after anesthetic is administered. The sections will be sent to a pathologist who will examine each sample for cancer cells. Because of the anesthetics, a biopsy is a relatively pain free procedure- it typically only takes about 15 minutes to perform.

Medical Therapy

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Contact a Cancer Specialist in Beverly Hills

f you would like to have high quality prostate cancer care or treatment, contact Comprehensive Urology in Los Angeles about HIFU today. Our team offers tailored, personalized HIFU treatments to help each patient maintain an active and healthy quality of life. Call (310)-278-8330 or make a confidential appointment online to schedule a biopsy, HIFU consultation, or second opinion. 

Learn more about high intensity focused ultrasound near me today.

Next, read about Prostate Biopsy.