According to the American Cancer Society, one in every nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, totaling approximately 165,000 diagnoses each year. Treatment has become more effective and less invasive thanks to the development of the FDA-approved High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) Prostate Tissue Ablation procedure.

The prostate is a small gland in the male reproductive system located in front of the rectum. The gland produces part of the seminal fluid that mixes with sperm to create semen.

Patients who are diagnosed with prostate cancer should consult closely with their urologist to determine if the procedure is available and appropriate for their particular situation. Patients in the Central Valley area now have access to the HIFU Prostate Tissue Ablation procedure at Fresno Surgical Hospital.

Urologists utilize a Sonablate® probe, allowing the ultrasound waves to reach the cancerous tissue, or targeted focal point, and ablate the infected tissue. The customizable procedure’s precise nature avoids damaging critical areas around the prostate, therefore, minimizing patients’ post-operative risk of developing urinary continence and erectile dysfunction, a common side effect of prostate cancer surgery.

The minimally-invasive treatment and cutting-edge technology gives surgeons the ability to analyze the prostate images in real-time to monitor any potential tissue changes during the surgery. This helps the urologist determine that the cancerous tissue is fully removed, optimizing the surgical outcome.

“Fresno Surgical Hospital has a longstanding history of being early adopters of cutting-edge medical technology,” said Nadeem Rahman, MD, a urologist with Fresno Surgical Hospital, who is currently the only urologist in the Central Valley who performs this procedure. “Our mission is to give our patients the best care possible, and this procedure allows us to treat prostate cancer patients in a minimally-invasive and effective way.”

The outpatient procedure does not include any radiation. The non-ionizing energy of the ultrasound waves means that urologists can repeat the procedure if necessary without affecting the surrounding healthy tissue. In-hospital recovery time is usually one to two hours, and most patients experience minimal side effects from the procedure.

HIFU Prostate Tissue Ablation has proven effective for patients who have already undergone the HIFU procedure, as well as patients who have previously attempted to treat their prostate cancer with traditional radiotherapy.

The procedure is completed by an HIFU specialist who has been highly trained in performing the procedure. The ultrasound probe maps the prostate with great accuracy. The urologist takes the data generated through using the probe and creates specialized map images that can be read using the computer software, customizing the session and pinpointing the cancerous tissue within the prostate to target and destroy it. Once the urologist plans the entire surgery using the precise images collected from the mapping, the HIFU energy creates small lesions (about the size of a grain of rice) on the prostate to ablate the tissue. The doctor continues this process until all unhealthy tissue is ablated. Afterward, MRI scans can confirm that the tissue was successfully ablated while healthy tissue remains intact and unharmed.

“The non-surgical procedure is safe, and we have seen significant success since we’ve implemented this procedure at Fresno Surgical Hospital,” said Dr. Raham. “With the HIFU technology, we are able to keep healthy tissue healthy, helping our patients recover from cancer to lead full lives.”

Fresno Surgical Hospital, an award-winning physician-owned hospital. Learn more at