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This paper describes the application of 3-D synthetic aperture focusing (SAF) to a single-element trans-rectal ultrasound transducer. The transducer samples a 3-D volume by simultaneous rotation and translation, giving a helical motion. Two different 3-D SAF methods are investigated, a direct and a two-step approach. Both methods perform almost identically for simulated scatterers and give a significant improvement in azimuth resolution and a constant resolution in elevation. Side lobes below -60 dB are achievable for both methods. Validation of the method is achieved by scanning a simple wire phantom and a complex phantom containing wires in azimuth and elevation. The simple wire phantom shows the same results as that found through simulation. The complex phantom shows simultaneous focusing in azimuth and elevation for the wire scatterers. Consideration of the processing requirements for both 3-D SAF methods shows that the two-step approach can give equivalent performance using an order of magnitude fewer calculations. This reduction requires a temporary storage of 9.1 GB of data for the investigated setup.