Dr. John McBroom, gynecological oncologist, recently performed the first Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemoperfusion (HIPEC), a minimally invasive robotic treatment for ovarian cancer, at Northside Hospital. During the procedure, Dr. McBroom used the robot to remove all visible adhesions and cancer within the patient’s abdominal cavity prior to starting HIPEC. This marks the first time ever that robotic technology has reportedly been used, in conjunction with HIPEC, for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Growth of ovarian cancer is most often relatively silent and, by the time of diagnosis, it usually has spread throughout the abdominal cavity. Until recently, treatment options for patients with advanced-stage ovarian cancer have only included surgery and conventional chemotherapy. However, with HIPEC and robotic surgery, surgeons can potentially improve their odds and reduce the morbidity associated with traditional open procedures.
Performed during surgery, HIPEC delivers heated chemotherapy into the abdominal cavity, which allows a much higher dose of chemo to permeate the diseased tissue than could be accomplished conventionally. The heat increases the effectiveness of the chemo. After the surgeon removes as much visible cancer as possible, the heated chemo is circulated throughout the abdomen, for up to 90 minutes, in an effort to kill the remaining cancer cells.
“We are very excited about the possibility of using both technologies to improve outcome and limit morbidity in our patients with advanced ovarian cancer,” said Dr. McBroom. “Ovarian cancer is typically not conducive to a laparoscopic procedure because the disease can hide and be hard to find. However, the improved dexterity and 3D vision of robotic technology allows us to successfully complete more complicated procedures and, in this case, find more of the disease to remove.”
As a result of Dr. McBroom using robotic technology, in conjunction with HIPEC, his patient was able to be discharged from the hospital two days after surgery and is recovering well.
HIPEC is useful with newly diagnosed patients as well as with patients who have a recurrence with minimal disease. However, whether performed traditionally or with the robot, it is not appropriate for everyone.
Previously, HIPEC has only been performed in conjunction with laparoscopic or traditional open surgery. However, the rise in robotic surgery has given surgeons even better tools to perform the most intricate of minimally invasive procedures and achieve better outcomes for their patients in a growing range of specialties including GYN oncology. Patients benefit from smaller incisions, less pain and scarring, reduced blood loss and need for transfusions, shorter hospital stays, quicker recoveries and reduced risk of infection.
Dr. McBroom is one of an elite group of surgeons qualified to perform the da Vinci Robot’s surgical techniques for gynecologic cancer surgery and is board certified in gynecologic oncology and general obstetrics and gynecology. His honors include AAGL Special Excellence in Endoscopic Procedures Award, Honorary Order of the Spur (3rd ACR, Operation Iraqi Freedom), and the Army Commendation Medal (Operation Iraqi Freedom). He is an active member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists and American College of Surgeons and American Society of Clinical Oncology, the author of more than 15 published articles and a sought after keynote speaker, nationally and internationally. He is a member of University Gynecologic Oncology, a women’s cancer care center committed to providing patients with state of the art treatment and innovative clinical trial options.