MINIMALLY INVASIVE LIMB INFUSION FOR RECURRENT MELANOMA: A New Treatment Option
Dr. Colette R.J. Pameijer performs minimally invasive limb infusion for recurrent melanoma limited to an extremity. This treatment requires no surgical incision. The blood supply is accessed percutaneously (through the skin; that is, an IV needle is placed in a blood vessel), and the arm or leg is isolated with a tourniquet. Warmed anti-cancer drugs are then circulated through the limb for 30 minutes.
A similar use of chemotherapy in isolated limbs has typically been done via perfusion, which involves a bypass machine such as the heart-lung machine used in cardiopulmonary bypass. This method also involves an incision over the blood vessel, dissecting around the vessel, and directly opening it.
Infusion is a percutaneous approach and does not require use of the bypass machine. It has shown the same results as the older, more invasive and complicated method. Patients who are not medically fit to undergo perfusion can tolerate infusion well. It is not only less invasive, but also less expensive, and it can be repeated if necessary. Limb infusion may also be used for extremity sarcoma, typically those cases that are inoperable or recurrent.