Skip Navigation

Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy

A major difficulty of treating patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis (advanced cancer of the abdomen) is that it is often not possible to remove all the cancer cells. As a result, the cancer often persists despite surgery, chemotherapy and other treatments.

Conventional surgery is ineffective because for every visible growth that surgeons remove, they leave behind dozens of microscopic cells. Chemotherapy drugs delivered through the bloodstream are frequently too diluted by the time they reach the tumor to be effective. Radiation doses needed to kill the cancerous cells would be too strong for healthy organs to withstand.

Since 1991, patients have been treated at Wake Forest Baptist with a promising and innovative therapy. Performed by only a handful of surgeons across the country, intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemotherapy -- also known as hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) -- is performed in concert with traditional surgery.

The logic behind the procedure is that, if cancer-fighting drugs could be put directly on the malignant cells, they are more effective.

During the procedure, the surgeon removes all visible growth from the patient’s abdomen, inserts plastic tubes in the abdominal wall and closes the incision. The tubes are attached to a pump which moves a heated anti-cancer drug fluid into the abdominal cavity and then back out for a constant flow. The heat improves the drug’s effectiveness and can add years and quality of life to patients for whom there was previously no hope. The Comprehensive Cancer Center has performed over 1,100 of these procedures, representing one of the most experienced teams worldwide.

Quick Reference

Comprehensive Cancer Center

1st Floor Information Desk
Appointments 336-716-WAKE
Toll-Free 888-716-WAKE

Find a Doctor Ways to Give


Surgical Oncology

The Surgical Oncology service is a key component of the Wake Forest University National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Last Updated: 02-18-2016
Wake Forest Baptist Ranked among Nation’s ‘Best Hospitals’  25 Years in a Row by U.S. News & World ReportComprehensive Cancer Centers National Designation is Renewed2017-2018 Best DoctorsNursing Magnet StatusJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

© Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157. All Rights Reserved.