HIPEC Procedure


​HIPEC Procedure

What is HIPEC?

Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC)* is an advanced treatment that involves the administration of highly concentrated heated chemotherapy into the abdomen during surgery.

*see ‘Definitions’ for additional information.

What does the treatment involve?

While you are under general anesthesia, the surgeon will first remove all the visible cancer from within the abdominal cavity. This type of surgery is called debulking or cytoreductive.

Next, high dose, sterilized chemotherapy is heated and pumped directly into the abdominal cavity. The chemotherapy is circulated throughout the abdomen to destroy any remaining microscopic (too small to see) cancer cells.

After staying in the abdomen for 90 minutes, the chemotherapy is drained, the abdomen is rinsed and the incision is closed. The surgery can take many hours.

What are the benefits?

  • Higher doses/concentration of chemotherapy can be given

  • The chemotherapy is given directly to the area where the cancer is located

  • The chemotherapy can be given before scar tissue and adhesions develop allowing for the therapy to reach all surfaces in the abdomen

  • Heating the chemotherapy enhances its penetration into tissues and increases the ability to kill cancer cells

  • Fewer chemotherapy-related side effects occur because the chemotherapy is contained within the abdominal cavity

How is it different from other methods of getting chemotherapy?

HIPEC Chemotherapy is given directly to the area where the cancer is located. IV or intravenous chemotherapy is given directly into the bloodstream and eventually goes to the area involved with cancer.

What type of chemotherapy can be given?

The specific chemotherapy agent(s) used for HIPEC depend on the type of cancer being treated.

What are the side effects?

Most of the side effects of HIPEC are related to having the surgery, not from the chemotherapy.

  • Potential side effects include:
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Delayed healing
  • Nausea
  • Lowering of blood counts

Unlike intravenous chemotherapy, you will not experience hair loss.

What will happen after surgery?

You will be transferred to the Surgical Intensive care unit (SICU) where you will stay for a few days depending on how quickly you recover. Once your recovery has progressed you will be transferred to the surgical unit. Your hospital stay will be at least 6 – 10 days.

  • You will have a tube (catheter) in your bladder to allow urine to drain.

  • You may have a tube in your nose to remove fluid/drainage or provide nutrition.

  • You may have drains to remove fluid in your abdomen (stomach).

  • You will have an IV for fluids and pain medication



HYPERTHERMIC: Temperature that is higher than normal body temperature. Typically, the chemotherapy is heated to about 107° F

INTRAPERITONEAL: Within or administered through the peritoneum, which is the lining that covers the walls of the abdominal cavity and surrounds the abdominal organs.

CHEMOTHERAPY: Chemicals that kill cancer cells, also known as “chemo” or “anticancer agent”

Candidates for this type of treatment

In general, HIPEC is a treatment option for those who have cancer that has spread and is contained within the abdominal cavity. Patients with the following conditions may be potential candidates :

  • Cancer that has spread within the abdominal cavity such as colon or ovarian

  • Mucinous adenocarcinoma of the appendix
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Pancreas
  • Stomach
  • Fallopian tubes

If you have questions regarding this type of treatment, you are encouraged to call:

Kevin Lowe, MD, PhD, FACS

Surgical Oncology
Parkview Physicians Group
(260) 266-8900


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