Press Releases

SonaCare Medical HIFU Technology Used for Kidney Cancer Ablation

University of Southern California's Keck Hospital first to perform renal HIFU ablation in outpatient setting

SonaCare Medical announces that doctors at the University of Southern California (USC) have successfully used the new Sonatherm robotic High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) technology to ablate renal cancer at Keck Hospital of USC. Dr. Inderbir Gill, MD, MCh founding executive director, USC Institute of Urology, and Chairman and Professor, Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, performed this HIFU procedure, which was the first in the world in an outpatient setting.

The patient, a 62 year old Van Nuys, CA, resident, had previously undergone two procedures for tumors on his kidney, but recently a third tumor appeared on his kidney. Doctors felt that, due to the size and location of the tumor, the patient was a good candidate for this new therapy option using minimally invasive laparoscopic HIFU ablation. 


Doctors at USC said the novel focused ultrasound technology offers many advantages over a partial nephrectomy, including: very little blood loss, a shortened procedure time, and the opportunity for patients to return home just hours after the procedure. Due to the targeted energy delivery and image guidance, physicians are able to direct the ablation to targeted tissue and spare adjacent tissues and structures.

According to Mark Carol, MD, SonaCare Medical's CEO, "The cutting-edge work the USC team showcases the great promise of minimally invasive HIFU. We were excited to see the patient be able to go home the same day as the procedure; a vast improvement on the one to three day hospital visit that is normally associated with kidney cancer surgery. USC was able to achieve the patient's primary goal of being able to return to his normal activities of daily living within 24 hours, a truly remarkable accomplishment." 

HIFU is a minimally invasive modality that uses focused ultrasound waves to induce thermal and/or mechanical effects inside the body. HIFU has been used in a variety of tissues including: uterine fibroids, prostate, liver, renal, breast and pancreas. 

The Sonatherm® system is 510(k) cleared for the laparoscopic or intraoperative ablation of soft tissue from the ultrasound focal zone back to the surface of the targeted ablation area in General Surgery. Sonatherm is not to be used for non-invasive ablation, i.e. leaving intervening tissue spared, and it is not indicated for the ablation of prostate tissue.


About SonaCare Medical 
SonaCare Medical, a privately held, venture-backed healthcare company, is a world leader in minimally-invasive high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technologies. SonaCare Medical is committed to developing technologies for urological indications that offer precise and innovative procedures that can control cancer and reduce potential quality of life altering side effects. SonaCare Medical, with its subsidiary Focus Surgery, Inc., designs and manufactures high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) medical devices, including the following: Sonablate®450 which is investigational in the U.S. and being studied in a pivotal FDA clinical trial as a possible treatment for recurrent prostate cancer in patients treated previously with external beam radiation therapy; Sonablate® 500, which has CE Marking and is, or has been, approved for use to treat prostate cancer in more than 30 countries outside the U.S.; and Sonatherm®laparoscopic HIFU surgical ablation system which is 510(k) cleared in the U.S. The FDA has made no decision as to the safety or efficacy of Sonablate® 450 or 500. In the event Sonablate® 450 is approved by the FDA for use in the U.S., there is no assurance that instructions for use or the specifications of the device will be the same for treatment approved or authorized in other countries outside of the U.S. SonaCare Medical was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. 

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