HIPEC, or hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, combines cancer surgery, chemotherapy and heat into a single procedure that kills cancer cells in the abdomen.
This combination surgery is performed by only a handful of surgical oncologists in the Chicagoland area, including George Salti, M.D., the most experienced Chicago HIPEC surgeon and one of the country’s leading experts on the procedure. Dr. Salti has performed hundreds of HIPEC procedures.
HIPEC for advanced abdominal cancers.HIPEC can be used to effectively treat advanced abdominal cancers, including:
- Appendiceal cancer, or cancer of the appendix
- Colorectal cancer
- Gastric (stomach) cancer
- Mesothelioma – an aggressive cancer that forms in the thin abdominal tissue
- Ovarian cancer
- Peritoneal carcinomatosis – a rare form of cancer that affects the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity)
HIPEC offers hope and improved quality of life for people who have abdominal cancers that may spread or have spread to other locations within the abdomen. These cancers are difficult to treat with other methods.
Benefits of HIPEC surgery
Patients can receive this targeted treatment from Dr. Salti at Edward-Elmhurst Health. The procedure offers many benefits for people with advanced abdominal cancers:
- Fewer side effects
- Improved quality of life
- Minimized exposure to chemotherapy for the rest of the body
- More intense cancer-killing effect from chemotherapy medication
- Potential to extend life expectancy
HIPEC has the potential to treat cancers in people who may have been told by other doctors that their cancer was not treatable. Patients travel from all over the world to receive this advanced treatment.
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HIPEC at Edwards Hospital
The HIPEC procedure is not as complex as it sounds. The peritoneum is the membrane that lines your abdominal cavity and also covers the organs inside of it. “Intraperitoneal” is treatment delivered throughout the abdominal cavity. “Hyperthermic chemotherapy” is a chemotherapy solution that has been heated to intensify its effect.
The first step of the HIPEC procedure is a common type of cancer surgery called debulking or cytoreductive surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon removes all visible tumors from inside the abdominal cavity.
Once the tumor is removed, the next step is administration of a heated chemotherapy solution into the peritoneal cavity. This baths the entire area in toxins that target the cancer cells. The cancer-killing medication circulates throughout the abdomen for about two hours. The goal is to destroy all tumor cells that may remain after surgery.
What are the advantages of HIPEC?
HIPEC offers many advantages to patients. The application of heat intensifies the effect of the chemotherapy drugs. Since the chemotherapy is concentrated in one area, there is less exposure of the toxic drugs to the rest of the body. This results in fewer side effects for the patient.
Only a few hospitals in Chicagoland offer this aggressive treatment and only about four surgeons perform it. Edward-Elmhurst Health is proud to offer patients the expertise of skilled physicians, including George Salti, M.D., F.A.C.S., one of the country’s most experienced surgical oncologists in HIPEC.
Who is eligible for HIPEC?
Not all patients meet the criteria for undergoing HIPEC. There are three requirements:
- The patient must be in good enough health to withstand the rather long procedure
- Cancer must be confined to the abdominal cavity
- All tumors must be surgically removable
You, your surgical oncologist and the rest of your care team will determine if HIPEC is appropriate for you.
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.