Thermal ablation is a minimally-invasive treatment option for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and localized prostate cancer. Accurate spatial control of thermal dose delivery is paramount to improving thermal therapy efficacy and avoiding post-treatment complications. We have recently developed three types of transurethral ultrasound applicators, each with different degrees of heating selectivity. These applicators have been evaluated in vivo in coordination with magnetic resonance temperature imaging, and demonstrated to accurately ablate specific regions of the canine prostate. A finite difference biothermal model of the three types of transurethral ultrasound applicators (sectored tubular, planar, and curvilinear transducer sections) was developed and used to further study the performance and heating capabilities of each these devices. The biothermal model is based on the Pennes bioheat equation. The acoustic power deposition pattern corresponding to each applicator type was calculated using the rectangular radiator approximation to the Raleigh Sommerfield diffraction integral. In this study, temperature and thermal dose profiles were calculated for different treatment schemes and target volumes, including single shot and angular scanning procedures. This study also demonstrated the ability of the applicators to conform the cytotoxic thermal dose distribution to a predefined target area. Simulated thermal profiles corresponded well with MR temperature images from previous in vivo experiments. Biothermal simulations presented in this study reinforce the potential of improved efficacy of transurethral ultrasound thermal therapy of prostatic disease.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.