High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
Advanced Technology for the Treatment of Prostate Cancer
Before you choose your HIFU doctor, ask him or her how many cases they have done. Dr. Robert Pugach is the most experienced HIFU urologist west of the Mississippi and he is the 4th most experienced HIFU urologist in the world! Learn why patients selected HIFU and Dr. Pugach to treat their prostate cancer. View Patient videos and comments on their HIFU experience.
The Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center of Excellence for Prostate Disease is actively pursuing the most advanced, minimally invasive technologies to treat prostate cancer. One such technology is High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU).
HIFU is available throughout the world as a therapeutic procedure for prostate cancer. While this remarkable technology was developed at the Indiana University School of Medicine in the 1980s, it wasn’t approved for use in the United States by our FDA until 2015.
Consistent with his focus on bringing advanced, minimally invasive technologies to his patients, Dr. Robert Pugach was an early adopter of HIFU technology.
He received his initial training outside the United States in December, 2005.
He completed his international certification and is in an elite group of less than 1% of the urologists in the US certified to perform HIFU.
He is one of the most experienced US urologists in treating prostate cancer patients using HIFU technology.
He is the most experienced HIFU user west of the Mississippi and the 4th most experienced HIFU urologist in the world. He is a member of the select Experienced HIFU Users Group. As such, he teaches other physicians how to use this remarkable technology.
HOW DOES HIGH INTENSITY FOCUSED ULTRASOUND WORK?
(View Animated HIFU Demonstration) HIFU is a therapy that destroys cancerous prostate tissue with rapid heat elevation in a matter of seconds. High intensity ultrasound energy, or sound waves, is focused at a specific location no larger than a grain of rice. At that “focal point,” the temperature rises to almost 100 degrees Celsius in only 3 seconds. Any tissue at the “focal point” is destroyed; however, any tissue outside of the focal point remains unharmed. The sound waves pass through healthy tissue without causing damage.
Dr. Robert Pugach uses the Sonablate® 500 HIFU treatment system exclusively to treat his prostate cancer patients. Sonablate® 500 is the higher energy, FDA approved medical device used to treat diseases of the prostate with HIFU energy. While there is another manufacturer of a HIFU medical device, Dr. Robert Pugach, as one of the most experienced HIFU urologists in the world, has determined that the Sonablate® 500 delivers superior treatment power and better long term results.
Dr. Robert Pugach uses the Sonablate® 500 with the latest 3G software. This medical device provides a non-invasive, painless treatment for prostate cancer that does not involve surgery or radiation.
MORE QUESTIONS? View Dr. Pugach’s educational videos and schedule an in-person or online consultation.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF HIFU TREATMENT?
The advantage of the HIFU procedure for prostate cancer therapy is that it can cure cancer without the two common, life-altering side effects that radical surgery (robotic or traditional) and radiation can cause:
- Loss of bladder control
- Erectile dysfunction
- HIFU’s precise, computer driven robotic treatment console minimizes the risk of complications with precise, targeted energy that destroys prostate tissue.
- HIFU is completely radiation free. Unlike radiation, ultrasound energy is non-ionizing, meaning it will not harm any tissue outside of the target area.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR HIFU?
Dr. Pugach advises that HIFU may be appropriate for men who have early stage, localized prostate cancer that has not spread or metastasized outside the prostate. HIFU may also be an effective therapy for recurrent prostate cancer when other treatment options have failed or pose a high risk of complications. A personalized consultation with a medical history and examination is required to determine if HIFU will work for you.
WHERE DOES DR. PUGACH PERFORM HIFU?
Dr. Robert Pugach treats HIFU patients at the Los Alamitos Surgery Center in Los Alamitos, California. This immaculately clean, certified ambulatory surgery center goes a step beyond by giving each patient personal attention and care. Leading edge technology and an excellent professional and nursing staff provide the highest quality care. Los Alamitos Surgery Center is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).
Learn more when you speak with our HIFU nurse and treatment coordinator.
HOW LONG IS THE HIFU PROCEDURE?
The procedure typically takes 2 to 4 hours depending on the size of your prostate. After your brief recovery from your outpatient HIFU procedure you can be discharged home the same day. That’s a remarkable contrast to the hospitalization required for radical prostate surgery or radiation treatment that can take up to 7 weeks to complete.
WHAT IS THE RECOVERY PROCESS?
During the first several weeks after the procedure patients typically experience urinary symptoms such as frequency and/or urgency to void. In the first one to two months patients may pass small amount days of blood, old prostate tissue or mucus-like material in the urinary stream. A urinary catheter is inserted and typically stays in your bladder for 2 weeks. Unlike catheters used after radical surgery, it does not go through the urethra so it’s far more comfortable and carries a much lower risk of infection. Dr. Pugach and his HIFU team will explain all of this to you in more detail when you come in for your consultation.
IS HIFU COVERED BY MEDICARE OR HEALTH INSURANCE?
MEDICARE COVERAGE OF HIFU APPROVED JULY 2017
Medicare now covers the facility portion of a HIFU procedure. The facility portion coverage means that all charges from a hospital or surgery center where your procedure will be performed are covered. Dr. Pugach is contracted with a leading local hospital outpatient surgical center to treat Medicare patients with HIFU. Learn more.
IS HIFU COVERED BY MEDICARE OR HEALTH INSURANCE?
Currently, most health insurance policies do not cover HIFU. However, patients may be able to receive reimbursement from their insurance companies by filing claims after the procedure. To learn more about commercial health insurance coverage, click here.
It is important that you educate yourself well before making any decision about treating prostate cancer. We’re here to help you! Learn more by calling us or visiting our dedicated HIFU website.
If you would like to schedule a consultation to learn more about HIFU, call the Pacific Coast Urology’s Center of Excellence for Prostate Disease at 888-735-4336 or email us via our Contact Us form.