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Also known as: Ablatherm device, Sonablate 500 device (SB500)
HIFU treatment can stimulate the immune system which can, on its own, have an effect on tumours that have not been directly targeted.
Small tumours can be destroyed in one session, but often large tumours require more sessions. In some cases there are advantages in combining HIFU with other medical treatments. Sessions are followed up with MRI scans to confirm tumour destruction.
With HIFU, there has been no evidence of side effects. Occasionally the skin is affected with a mild sunburn effect which clears up after a few days. The use of anaesthetic eliminates any discomfort allowing the patient to keep still during treatment.
Until recently, there have only been a few clinical trials of HIFU for ablation (although significant work in hyperthermia has been performed using ultrasonic heating). This was perhaps due to the complexity of the treatment and the difficulty of targeting the ultrasonic beam non-invasively. Due to recent advances in ultrasound technology and medical imaging, there has been an increase in interest in HIFU ablation of tumours.