High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound

Annual Aging Well Section

This advanced ultrasound technology is making strides in cancer treatment.

What is HIFU?

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a minimally invasive medical procedure that uses ultrasound waves. These high-intensity, highly focused sound waves can target and destroy diseased tissue while leaving healthy tissue unharmed. HIFU has a wide range of applications and is becoming an increasingly popular option for cancer treatment.

HIFU in Cancer Treatment

HIFU is most often used to treat tumors – in many cases, cancerous ones. Most notably, HIFU is being used in the treatment of prostate cancer – a condition that predominantly affects aging men 50 and older. Focal HIFU technology in particular has been groundbreaking in prostate cancer treatment by increasing precision and reducing side effects.

graphic illustration of high-intensity focused ultrasound

What to Expect

Prior to HIFU, you may undergo an imaging test to locate the exact position of the cancerous tissue. MRI imaging is often used in combination with HIFU to guide the waves and boost accuracy. During the procedure, a machine will deliver bursts of ultrasonic waves that safely pass through healthy tissue. This energy will heat up the target tissue and destroy it. Afterward, another imaging test will confirm whether the tissue was destroyed. HIFU is typically performed in an outpatient setting and is complete after a single session.


Patients wishing to avoid radical cancer treatment may be candidates for HIFU. Compared to treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and open surgery, HIFU offers fewer side effects and is considered a safer option. It also has a shorter recovery time than more invasive procedures, allowing patients to return to their daily activities in only a few days.

An Expert Weighs In

“We are proud to be the first in Tennessee, leading the technological advancement through the use of Focal One. This technology uses robotic and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide the precise treatment for early detected prostate cancer. As a focused approach, we can maximize the cancer treatment while avoiding typical sexual and urinary side effects impacting the quality of life.”

Get access to the next issue before it hits the stands!