‘Ultrasound Ablation’ or ‘Thermal Ultrasound’ is the process of using heat created by ultrasound energy to ablate tissue resulting in cell death.

The TULSA Procedure and HIFU both use thermal ultrasound to ablate prostate tissue, but the technology and delivery methods are very different. The TULSA Procedure is not just another focal ablation modality; the technology differs because it’s customizable and can treat the following: whole-gland, partial gland, hemigland, salvage cases, and much more, all while preserving important human functions.

Compared to the TULSA Procedure, HIFU has higher rates of complications and is limited in the size of glands in which whole-gland ablation can be attempted.

What is the TULSA Procedure?

TULSA stands for ‘Transurethral Ultrasound Ablation’. During the TULSA Procedure, a device is inserted into the urethra (transurethral), which delivers the ultrasound energy toward the prostate. This device rotates within the urethra, creating a continuous sweeping heating pattern that is directional and travels outwards towards the edge of the targeted prostate region.

The malignant and benign prostate tissue is ablated with precision using an ‘inside-out’ approach because the directional ultrasound energy comes from the urethra, which is located inside the prostate. The ability to ablate from the inside out means that the TULSA Procedure is incision-free and does not transmit ultrasound energy through the rectal wall or other surrounding anatomy before reaching the prostate tissue.

Another difference between HIFU and the TULSA Procedure is that the TULSA Procedure takes place within an MRI suite, whereas the HIFU procedure is done under ultrasound monitoring and guidance. Continuous imaging throughout the entire ablation enables the TULSA procedure to have real-time MRI guidance and a closed-loop temperature feedback system.

Among all MRI-guided procedures, the TULSA PROCEDURE is the only one that utilizes this real-time guidance to continuously control the amount of energy being delivered. This enables your doctor to see in real-time what is happening within your prostate in a very controlled and predictable manner.

The TULSA Procedure protects surrounding tissues and organs

The TULSA Procedure also actively cools the urethra and rectum to help preserve the patients’ natural functions (urinary, bowel, and sexual functions), whereas HIFU solely has rectal cooling. During the TULSA Procedure, no thermal energy passes through the rectum. Instead, a cooling device is inserted into the rectum, protecting the tissue from the ultrasound energy. Simultaneously, the transurethral device cools the urethra, further protecting it against urethral injuries.

To learn more about the benefits of the transurethral delivery method and the benefits of having an incision-free procedure such as the TULSA Procedure, visit our ‘About TULSA Procedure‘ page today.

What is HIFU?

HIFU stands for ‘High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound’. When HIFU is used to ablate prostate tissue, a device is inserted into the rectum, which delivers the thermal ultrasound energy through the rectal wall and is focused on a particular area within the prostate.

The heating pattern created by HIFU is focused on a single point and is referred to as sonication. Many close or overlapping sonications are needed to ablate a specific region of the prostate, allowing them to target up to 40 cc of the prostate. In comparison, the TULSA PROCEDURE has targeted prostates larger than 200 cc. The prostate tissue is ablated using an ‘outside-in’ approach because the focused ultrasound energy comes from within the rectum, which is located outside of the prostate.

HIFU is a focal treatment option for prostate cancer that offers a middle-ground between active surveillance and invasive treatment such as surgery or radiation. It ablates tissue in the targeted area that contains the index lesion. The main idea of focal treatment is to manage the growth of the index lesion safely and precisely. Men who receive focal treatment will continue to be monitored after the procedure.

Sep 2, 2022 | TULSA Procedure

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