Glossary of Basic Terms

  • Peritoneum is the smooth transparent membrane that lines the cavity of the abdomen and is folded inward over the abdominal and pelvic organs.
  • Peritoneal Cavity is the space in the abdomen and pelvis lined by the peritoneum.
  • Ascites is the pathologic accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Normally, there is a balance between fluid secretion and absorption in the peritoneal cavity.
  • Cytoreductive Surgery refers to the removal or destruction of all visible tumors present throughout the abdomen. The long-term results are directly related to the ability of the surgeon in the removal of all visible tumor.
  • Debulking Surgery refers to the removal or destruction of part of visible tumors present throughout the abdomen. This type of surgery is practiced in selected cases of ovarian cancer or PseudoMyxoma Peritonei and usually done for palliation only.
  • Hyperthermia (High temperature) has several benefits in the treatment of cancer. Heat increases the penetration of chemotherapy drugs into tissues, heat increases the efficacy of some chemotherapy drugs. Heat has by itself an anti-tumor effect.
  • Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) refers to the intraoperative administration of heated chemotherapy into the peritoneal cavity, after all tumor tissue has been resected (Cytoreductive Surgery). This technique permits the administration of high concentrations of chemotherapy into the abdomen and pelvis.