What can I expect?

The first step is an evaluation with a Surgical Oncologist.  This surgeon will go over your history, lab work, and CT or MRI to determine if you are a candidate for HIPEC.  If so, the Surgical Oncologist will work with your Medical Oncologist to determine the best timing for HIPEC.

HIPEC begins with cytoreductive surgery.  A vertical incision is typically used since this provides the best access for removing tumor deposits throughout the entire abdomen.  The cytoreduction can take several hours, depending on how much tumor there is to be removed.  Once the debulking is complete, the surgeon places temporary catheters inside the abdomen and begins circulating the heated chemotherapy.  The HIPEC continues for about 90 minutes in the operating room.  Once the chemotherapy is finished, the surgeon removes the catheters and completes the operation.

Patients who have had HIPEC typically need about 7-10 days in the hospital to recover.  One side effect of HIPEC is that it irritates the intestines; it can take over a week for the intestines to resume their normal function.  HIPEC may also cause the white blood cell count to drop.  This is not serious in most patients, however your blood tests will be monitored closely.

Most patients report that it takes an additional month before their energy levels return to normal.  Following HIPEC, you will need to repeat a CT or MRI every few months to monitor for recurrence.