Also known as Magnetic Resonance guided Focused Ultrasound or MRgFUS or MRgHIFU, HIFU is a medical procedure which applies high intensity focused ultrasound energy so as to locally heat areas & eventually destroy damaged or diseased tissue through ablation. This is a hyperthermia therapy which is a class of clinical therapies using temperature so as to cure diseases. HIFU is one modality of therapeutic ultrasound which involves noninvasive or minimally invasive techniques to direct acoustic energy into organs & tissue of the body. Clinical utilization of HIFU is typically performed in conjunction with imaging techniques in order to enable planning & targeting prior to applying ablative or therapeutic levels of ultrasound energy as part of treatment.
High intensity focused ultrasound is a specific type of Cancer Treatment. HIFU is normally given with help of a machine which give off high frequency sound waves which deliver strong beams to specific areas of cancer. Some cancerous cells are found to die when HIFU beam is directly focused on them. Basic advantage of this type of treatment is that there are not many side effects as with other types of cancer treatments being used. Presently, HIFU is used as treatment for specific types of cancer in certain situations.
Only useful in treatment of a single tumor or part of a large tumor, HIFU cannot be effectively used to treat tumors which are generally widespread. HIFU therefore is not suitable for people with cancer which has spread to more than one area within the body. Moreover, HIFU cannot also pass through air or solid bone which effectively means that it cannot be useful in treating all types of cancers.
Types of cancer which can be successfully treated with HIFU are listed below.
Deciding whether HIFU is a good choice for treatment is for the patient to make up his mind after he has carefully understood all the advantages & disadvantages & has discussed the same with the doctor.
As with all procedures, HIFU treatment also has possible complications & side effects. Each patient responds quite differently to varying forms of treatment procedures. Surgeons have found that there is a possibility of slightly higher risk of 3 – 4 percent among some patients developing fistula due to HIFU treatment. Fistula basically is an opening between the bowel & urinary system.
As of now, there have been very few side effects among people who have undergone HIFU treatment. HIFU may cause some pain or discomfort for 3 – 4 days following treatment & which may cause soreness in rectum or in skin depending upon the area which has been treated. This is however mild & does not last for long. Moreover, it is quite unusual for soreness to be severe or ongoing.
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