Dr. George Salti
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Dr. Salti is the Director of Surgical Oncology and Associate Professor of Surgery for Edward-Elmhurst Health System.
Dr. Salti uses advanced surgical techniques to treat melanoma, sarcoma, breast cancer, gastrointestinal and esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, hepatobiliary cancer and endocrine tumors.
In addition, Dr. Salti has developed a special interest in – and is one of only a few surgeons in Illinois and the country – treating late stage abdominal cancers with Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy, also known as HIPEC. Only 1,300-1,500 of the procedures are performed annually in the U.S.
HIPEC is done in conjunction with surgery to remove cancerous tumors. With HIPEC, the abdominal cavity is bathed with a heated chemotherapy solution for 90 minutes to attack any remaining cancer cells. According to Dr. Salti, HIPEC is most commonly applied to cancers of the appendix and colon, but also is used in some cases of ovarian, stomach and peritoneal cancers.
"HIPEC may provide relief of symptoms, and it has improved the survival rate for some cancers," says Dr. Salti. "It doubles the survival rate for certain colon cancer patients compared to use of the latest standard chemotherapy. And for patients with malignant growths known as pseudomyxoma peritonei, HIPEC can add up to 20 years to their life expectancy."
Until recently, advanced cancers in the abdominal cavity – such as appendix, colon, mesothelioma and ovary – were difficult to treat effectively. But thanks to hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy – known as HIPEC – people with these cancers are experiencing better treatment outcomes.
During HIPEC, surgeons remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible before introducing heated chemotherapy medication to the area. This approach to treatment provides the most effective means of killing cancer cells, helping patients live longer, higher-quality lives.
To determine if someone is a HIPEC surgery candidate, doctors consider the following:
Medical fitness – HIPEC is a complex procedure that can take 7-10 hours to complete, so patients must be able to withstand major surgery.
Type of tumor – Doctors look at both the size and placement of the tumor(s). The goal of the procedure is to leave no tumors behind. Any tumors remaining after the surgical portion of the procedure must be smaller than 2.5 millimeters in diameter to ensure the heated chemotherapy medication is effective.
Expected outcome – HIPEC works by circulating chemotherapy medication inside the abdominal cavity. If cancer spreads outside the cavity, HIPEC is no longer a good option as it will have limited success in killing those cancerous cells.
I was the first Chicago-area surgeon to perform the HIPEC procedure in the early 2000s. Since then, I’ve performed hundreds of these procedures. To this day, only a few surgeons in Chicago can perform this complex procedure.
Edward-Elmhurst Health’s HIPEC program is recognized worldwide. We frequently collaborate with other top surgeons to ensure our process is streamlined and that we are using best practices. It’s world-class care that’s close to home in a community hospital setting.
What really sets us apart is our teamwork. Every patient works with a team of caregivers, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and more. It’s care that starts with the first office visit and extends all the way through a patient’s treatment.
To learn more about HIPEC, or to schedule an appointment to find out if you’re a candidate for the procedure, visit us online or call 630-646-6020.