Isolated Limb Perfusion

Many people with melanoma or sarcoma have tumors that cannot be surgically removed, but remain confined to an area — such as in an arm or a leg. Isolated limb perfusion is a surgical technique that we use to treat these types of cancers.

What Can I Expect During Isolated Limb Perfusion?

In isolated limb perfusion, our surgeon separates the blood flow of the limb from the rest of the body.

  • Afterwards, the surgeon makes two small incisions and inserts tubes:
    • One to pump the heated chemotherapy solution into your body.
    • One to circulate the fluid back to the heating equipment.
  • Once the treatment begins, the temperature in the limb rises to between 105 and 107.6 F (40.6 and 42 C).
  • The chemotherapy solution circulates for several hours to kill the cancer cells.
  • The pump is turned off to allow the treated region to cool to normal temperature.
  • Then the surgeon removes the tubes and temperature probes, closes the incisions, and sends you to recovery.

Isolated limb perfusion is associated with response rates in more than 75 percent of patients with advanced melanoma.

Cancer Types Treated With Isolated Limb Perfusion