Have you been diagnosed with cancer related to an organ in the abdominal cavity and is rapidly spreading? Your oncologist is likely to suggest HIPEC surgery.

Hyperthermia Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Surgery is also known as HIPEC or Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal and Chemotherapy. It is a type of cancer surgery that involves heating the peritoneum (abdominal lining) to a high temperature and injecting different chemicals into the abdomen.

Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Surgery is an advanced technique in which heated chemotherapy drugs are injected directly into the patient’s abdominal cavity, while keeping it at an artificially high temperature through thermal treatment. The heated chemotherapy kills the cancer cells, but also triggers an acute stress response in the patient’s body. As a result, the patient’s immune system is activated and further reduces the risk of recurrence for up to three years after surgery.

This procedure has been approved by the FDA in January 2019 .

This process can kill cancerous cells, prevent them from growing back, and alleviate symptoms.

In this article Dr. Sandeep Nayak, the Founder of MACS for Cancer – a center that provides the best cancer treatment in Bangalore, explains everything you need to know about Hyperthermia Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Surgery, why it is recommended?

Read on to know more about Hyperthermia Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Surgery and its benefits.

What is the meaning of HIPEC?

HIPEC stands for hyperthermia intraperitoneal chemotherapy. As the name suggests, the procedure involves heating the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) to a high temperature, to 41-43 degrees Celsius and chemotherapy drugs are injected into the abdominal cavity, thus enabling the drugs to kill more cancer cells.

In addition, the high temperature also kills some bacteria inside the abdomen that cause infections. This procedure is used in patients with certain types of abdominal cancers and is administered as an option in patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis (an abnormal spread of cancer cells in the abdominal cavity) The chemicals travel to all parts of the abdomen and kill the cancer cells inside the abdominal cavity.

To understand the procedure, you can also think of it as “heating up” the abdominal cavity to kill the cancer cells without affecting the rest of the body. The peritoneum, or the abdominal lining, is kept warm to prevent it from cooling down. Since the peritoneum is an organ that is close to the abdominal wall, it can be heated easily.

Why is Hyperthermia Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Surgery recommended?

Dr. Sandeep Nayak suggests this surgery to treat advanced-stage abdominal tumors including stomach cancer, appendix cancer, colorectal cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma, and ovarian cancer.

He is an eminent oncologist who can be trusted to give the best cancer treatment in Bangalore and also runs Samrohana – an initiative to help the underprivileged to treat cancer.

Hyperthermia Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Surgery is recommended as a last resort when there is no other treatment available. The main reason behind recommending this surgery is that it destroys cancer cells and prevents them from growing back, thereby allowing the patient to live a longer life. Also, it can help to reduce the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, such as pain, jaundice, and bowel obstruction.

How is Hyperthermia Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy done?

The patient is first put under general anesthesia, and an incision is made in the abdomen. In this procedure, the patient’s abdomen is warmed to about 40 degrees Celsius to open the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) and then chemotherapy drugs are injected. The peritoneum is then sewn up to prevent the drugs from leaking into other areas of the body.

This procedure can be done along with other types of cancer surgery, such as liver, colorectal, or pancreatic surgery. It is done after the patient’s surgery to kill any cancer cells that may have been left behind.

The duration of the surgery depends on the extent of the cancer, the number of organs affected, and the patient’s overall health. The surgery can last from a few hours to a few days, depending on the extent of the cancer.

Benefits of Hyperthermia Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Surgery

The advantages of Hyperthermia Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Surgery are as follows:

  • Increased chances of survival from cancer
  • A reduced risk of recurrence of cancer
  • It destroys all cancer cells inside the abdominal cavity.
  • It prevents cancer cells from spreading to other organs.
  • It inhibits the growth of new blood vessels that feed cancer cells.
  • It reduces the pain associated with cancer.
  • It allows the patient’s organs to function normally.
  • Improved quality of life and reduced pain
  • Decreased risk of infection
  • Less chance of needing blood transfusions
  • Potential for less scarring
  • Earlier return to normal activities

Precautions before and after surgery

The patient should follow these precautions before and after surgery:

  • Avoid travel or any activity that involves a risk of getting hurt or injuring others
  • Ensure that someone stays with the patient at all times in case of an emergency
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such-as ibuprofen
  • Avoid unnecessary exposure to infections, such-as coughing or sneezing into your hands
  • Avoid sharing utensils, towels, bedding, or clothing with others.

Key Takeaway

HIPEC is a procedure where cancerous cells are killed by heating the peritoneum and injecting cancer-killing drugs directly into the abdominal cavity. This advanced technique can kill cancer cells, prevent them from growing back, and alleviate many symptoms. The peritoneum is kept open with a heated probe, followed by a heated fluid used to cleanse the abdominal cavity of any cancer cells and then sealed with a heated probe.

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