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As with any other surgery, one of your first questions after you decide to have HIPEC surgery is likely how long your recovery will take. During this procedure, your surgeon will remove visible tumors from your stomach cavity, then deliver a highly concentrated, heated chemotherapy solution to target any remaining cancer cells. The procedure takes approximately eight to 10 hours to complete, and HIPEC recovery often takes at least three months.

What to expect during HIPEC recovery

Once your HIPEC surgery is complete, you’ll likely be moved to the intensive care unit (ICU). Hospital providers will monitor your health status and administer antibiotics and pain medication as necessary. Although you may require IV nutrition at first, you will probably be encouraged to resume eating solid foods to restore your bowel function as soon as possible. After approximately two days, you’ll likely be moved from the ICU to another section of the hospital, where you’ll remain for about six to 20 days before going home.

In the months following HIPEC surgery, you may experience the following side effects:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Although you should certainly rest as needed during your HIPEC recovery, it will be important for you to move around as much as possible to help prevent complications such as blood clots. Your physician can provide you with detailed recommendations tailored to your specific circumstances.

The team to choose for HIPEC surgery

If you’ve been recommended for HIPEC surgery, or if you have peritoneal disease and are curious whether this procedure is appropriate for your needs, you can turn to Moffitt Cancer Center. The specialists in our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program have extensive experience in performing this procedure and can let you know if it’s suited to your condition.

Contact Moffitt Cancer Center today to request a consultation. You can reach us by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing a new patient registration form online.


Cytoreductive Surgery and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy