Methodist Hospital
April 28, 2021

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. Until recently, prostate cancer treatment involved surgery and abrasive radiation therapy, often presenting significant side effects and major impacts on a patient’s quality of life. Now, Methodist Hospital offers a revolutionized incision-free and customizable solution for men diagnosed with low- to intermediate-risk prostate disease.

Methodist Hospital is first in South Texas, and second in the state, to perform the TULSA procedure, an MRI-guided transurethral ultrasound ablation used to treat prostate disease. Naveen Kella, MD, Urologist, performed the first procedure on a patient diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“Treating prostate cancer effectively and keeping side-effects for my patients as minimal as possible has always been my goal,” commented Dr. Kella. “We now have an exciting option that can treat prostate cancer without requiring a hospital stay, surgery, or repeated visits for treatment. This technology will be a valuable asset to South Texas and the greater area looking for top-notch prostate cancer care.”

This procedure combines real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with robotically-driven thermal ultrasound and closed-loop temperature feedback control software to deliver transurethral prostate tissue ablation of prostate tissue. The system is connected to the MRI machine, which allows the physician to use high-precision MR imaging to determine the areas of the prostate that will be ablated. A temperature algorithm helps control and provide constant feedback during the procedure to minimize damage to surrounding tissue and organs. The MR images and the customized procedure plan enable the physician to draw out boundary lines while avoiding important nerve bundles and critical structures around the prostate; this reduces the risk of side effects and preserves the patient's natural functions.

Diagram showing the device in the prostate, indicating bladder, urethra, ultrasound transducers, heating pattern, thermal ablation boundary, ultrasound applicator (UA), endorectal cooling device (ECD)

This is not a one-size-fits-all procedure; this radiation-free therapy is minimally invasive and customizable, personalized to meet the patient’s unique anatomy and tissue. Patients no longer have to commit to several visits to treat their cancer; this outpatient treatment is performed in a single session and takes a few hours, meaning patients spend less time in the hospital and more time living their lives.

“Methodist Hospital has more surgical robots than any other hospital in the country. Investing in a promising new treatment such as this will provide one place for patients to receive the spectrum of prostate cancer and enlarged prostate treatment. That makes Methodist different from any other facility in South Texas.”