Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) surgery gives people with abdominal cancer a chance to live longer and feel better. During this procedure, Dr. Dimitri Alden will remove visible tumors from your abdominal cavity, then administer a highly concentrated, heated chemotherapy treatment to target residual cancer cells. The surgery takes about eight to ten hours, and recovery usually takes three months or more.
Immediate Post-Op Care
You will need extensive care to recover immediately after HIPEC surgery. Patients often stay on-site for ten to twelve days so a recovery care team can keep a careful eye on them. They will use a tried-and-true method called an “enhanced recovery after surgery protocol” to help with pain, avoid complications and speed up healing. Your team will prepare to send you home after you accomplish key healing milestones.
Independent Recovery Plan for Faster Healing
Several strategies to help you successfully continue your recovery at home include instructions for:
- Hydration. Drink water often throughout the day. Setting a reminder every hour helps.
- Nutrition. Eat a high-calorie, high-protein diet to increase energy and aid healing. Eat small, frequent meals if you become full quickly or do not have an appetite. Return cautiously and gradually to your usual healthy diet.
- Bowel movements. Maintain regular bowel movements and avoid going more than three days without one. Use stool softeners if needed; painkillers can cause constipation.
- Personal hygiene. You can shower but not bathe or use a hot tub until the incision heals.
- Activity. Stay active by taking brisk walks throughout the day. Walking can help you regain energy, reduce blood clots and improve your general well-being. Avoid exercises that engage your core.
- Returning to work. Many patients can return to work about a month after treatment if their jobs do not require heavy lifting.
- Postoperative checkup. Stay close to home after hospitalization. After surgery, you will follow up with Dr. Alden to ensure everything is going well or to address any complications.
Are You a Candidate for HIPEC Surgery?
Most people who choose to undergo HIPEC surgery are looking for an alternative to traditional chemotherapy or radiation therapy because those treatments have limited success in treating advanced abdominal cancers. Thus, typical HIPEC patients are those with certain Stage IV abdominal cancers. Contact Dr. Alden’s office to schedule a consultation and see if HIPEC surgery is right for you.