Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a cancer treatment that involves filling the abdominal cavity with chemotherapy drugs that have been heated. Also known as “hot chemotherapy,” HIPEC is performed after the surgeon removes tumors or lesions from the abdominal area.
After all visible tumors are removed, cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug, is heated to 103 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius) and pumped through the abdominal cavity. The patient lies on a special cooling blanket to keep their body temperature at safe levels. Surgeons physically rock the patient back and forth on the operating table for about 2 hours to ensure that the drug reaches all areas of the abdomen, killing any cancer cells that remain after surgery and reducing the risk for cancer recurrence.
Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy has some side effects. Patients must be prepared to receive nutrition through a feeding tube or IV for about two weeks, while the digestive system recovers from the intense dose of chemotherapy.