If cancer is located in only a small area of the prostate, your doctor may perform focal gland ablation in order to eliminate the cancer while sparing the rest of the prostate. This approach helps to minimize the side effects associated with removing the prostate, including urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. NYU Langone is among the few medical centers in the country where this therapy is performed.
NYU Langone doctors may recommend focal ablation when diagnostic tests, such as MRI scans and biopsy, have shown that the cancer could benefit from treatment and is located only in a specific region of the prostate. MRI imaging plays a critical role in helping specialists to determine if you are a candidate for focal ablation.
Doctors may use laser, radiofrequency, high-intensity focused ultrasound, or cyrotherapy for focal ablation. Your doctor can help you to weigh the risks and benefits of each type of focal ablation and develop a plan to monitor you at regular intervals after treatment to ensure the cancer has not returned.
High-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, is one of the newest ablative technologies available, and NYU Langone was the second academic medical center in the United States to perform a HIFU ablation. Today, NYU Langone is one of the only medical centers in the country and the only one in the Northeast to offer HIFU.
During the procedure, doctors direct focused sound wave energy directly to the tumor under real-time ultrasound imaging guidance. They also use computer software and prior MRI scans to determine how much ablation is needed. This helps doctors destroy the cancerous tissue, while preserving surrounding healthy structures.
After high-intensity focused ultrasound, a catheter, a slender tube, is used to divert urine out of the body, allowing the prostate to heal. Your doctor removes the catheter a few days later. Once it is removed, you can resume normal everyday activities, including sexual activity.
Depending on the type of energy used—laser, radiofrequency, high-intensity focused ultrasound, or cryotherapy—this procedure may be performed using local or general anesthesia and typically takes one to two hours. You typically leave the hospital the same day.