We make no qualms about it. We like HIFU. Its a clean and less invasive procedure for treating prostate cancer that has proven itself over the years as a great alternative to every other procedure available. The drawback is that only some insurances currently reimburse. Nonetheless, here is our argument for the Sonablate 500 HIFU treatment:
- HIFU is "clean" energy; there is no radiation exposure to the patient, so there is no risk for weakening or damaging of cells and tissue surrounding the prostate.
- Sonablate HIFU is non-surgical; therefore there is minimal bloodloss and it is less invasive than other treatments for Prostate cancer.
- Sonablate 500 is an out-patient procedure; no overnight hospital stay is required.
- HIFU can be repeated, if necessary.
- After HIFU, if needed, patients may pursue other treatment options (radiation, cryotherapy, surgery etc).
- HIFU with the Sonablate 500 can be used as a salvage treatment for local prostate cancer recurrence after radiation, seed implants, cryoablation, and radical prostatectomy.
- Studies show that HIFU preserves patient quality of life by minimizing side effects such as impotence and incontinence.
The Sonablate 500 is designed with enhancements that put the power of treatment in the hands of the physician. Physician control ensures customized, tailored treatments for each patient. No two patients are exactly the same; customization with the Sonablate 500 allows the treating physician to provide the patient with the best HIFU treatment possible.
No Surgery Required with the Sonablate 500
The Sonablate is the only HIFU device that has the ability to treat up to a 50 cc prostate without needing an invasive procedure, such as a TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate), prior to HIFU. The Ablatherm device requires that a TURP, an invasive surgical procedure, be preformed prior to HIFU for any prostate larger than 25cc. Due to the design of the probe and the focal lengths of the transducer, the Sonablate has a 120-degree therapy zone that, in the vast majority of cases, gives the physician immediate access to the entire prostate gland without having to move or reposition the probe.
Sonablate 500 has Superior Imaging
The benefit of real-time and reference images that is unique to the Sonablate 500 is that the physician can get immediate feedback for maximum precision. The images are used as guidelines to customize and plan the HIFU treatment. During HIFU these images are continuously monitored and evaluated to show treatment progression and precision. The Sonablate 500 also incorporates 3-Dimensional imaging for more accurate treatment planning and TCM (tissue change monitoring) to assure adequate treatment of the targeted tissues.
The Sonablate 500 has integrated hardware and software built into the device which identifies the blood flow through the neurovascular bundles. This means that as the physicians acquires real-time images of the prostate, he/she is also able to locate the exact position of the nerovascular bundles responsible for preserving potency. HIFU treatment is planned by the physicians based on these images. Since the doctor can clearly identify the location of the blood flow, he/she can easily avoid causing damage to the nerves, thus fewer patients treated with the Sonablate 500 have problems with erectile dysfunction. Click on the image on the right to enlarge the screen shot of the neurovascular bundle detection. The Ablatherm is not capable of identifying or monitoring blood flow through the neurovascular bundles during HIFU at all. Therefore, the Ablather has a much higher statistical incidence of erectile dysfunction associated with outcomes.
Hands-On Physician Control
Using the Sonablate 500, the physician controls the position and the placement of the probe and can adjust it for optimal outcomes and comfort. Probe movement with the Ablatherm is limited because it is fixed on the treatment table and not directly controlled by the physician hands-on.
Dynamic Power Adjustment
The Sonablate 500 features dynamic power adjustment during HIFU to account for tissue response to the delivery of energy. Additionally, the physician has the ability to adjust power levels near vital areas such as around nerve bundles and near the rectum. This feature adds safety and further allows for customization of treatment. The Ablatherm has three pre-set power levels and it does not have the ability to adjust based on tissue response. Therefore all patients treated with the Ablatherm are treated with the same power level, as if they were all equal, which is not ideal.
The Most Precise Treatment Available
The Sonablate 500 is designed to treat the prostate in multiple overlapping zones. Ultrasound is focused on a small focal zone creating a small lesion where the tissue is heated and destroyed. These lesions are placed side by side until all the tissue has been destroyed. The Sonablate 500 produces small lesions that are so precise, 12mm in length, 3 mm wide, that the physician is able to be place them at the prostatic apex while monitoring the rectal wall. The Ablatherm is produces a larger lesion, 19-24mm at the focal point with a 1.7mm diameter which must be placed 5-8mm behind the apex in order to avoid damaging the sphincter. This could leave some prostatic tissue outside of the treatment zone, which is undesirable and increases the chance for cancer recurrence.