Prostate Ultrasound is also called transrectal ultrasound and is used to evaluate the health of the male prostate gland and the tissue adjacent to it. The prostate gland is accessed via an ultrasound probe inserted in the rectum because it is located just ahead the rectum and can easily be scanned in this way.
A prostate sonography may be used to identify and measure abnormalities including an enlarged prostate and any lumps or growths. It can also be used to investigate possible causes of infertility, difficulty urinating, elevated blood screening results, or anomalies discovered during routine exams and screenings.
Limitations of Prostate Ultrasound
Prostate ultrasound is not well suited to men whose rectum has been surgically removed, but a sonographer may decide instead to do an external ultrasound on the patient’s perineal area. This type of scan may not be as effective, however, and a pelvic MRI may be ordered instead.
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound
High intensity focused ultrasound, also known as HIFU, is a therapy that destroys cancerous tissues with fast increases of heat, essentially cooking the tissue. Sound waves via ultrasound energy are focused at a specific site in the patient’s body, and the temperature increases to nearly 194 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of seconds. Any tissues within that focal point are destroyed while the nearby tissues remain unharmed.
In studies performed outside of the U.S., HIFU has produced results in the field of oncology that are largely comparable to usual treatments. HIFU is a minimally invasive therapy for prostate cancer that does not use ionizing radiation1, which may be potentially harmful to patients.
Advantages of HIFU for Prostate Cancer
When a patient undergoes a HIFU, he is unlikely to experience any blood loss as this is not a surgical procedure. There is no opening of the body to remove cancerous tissues, so the patient will likely experience a quicker recovery time than other traditional cancer treatments. HIFU is considered to be a radiation-free outpatient procedure.
Disadvantages of HIFU for Prostate Cancer
However, there is no substantial data available that indicates the success of the procedure over the next two to three decades. There is no certainty that the cancer will be completely removed or that the patient will not suffer from a relapse of prostate cancer, and there is a potential risk of incontinence and impotence.