Limb perfusion is a medical technique that may be used to deliver anticancer drugs directly to an arm or leg. The flow of blood to and from the limb is temporarily stopped with a tourniquet, and anticancer drugs are put directly into the blood of the limb. This allows the person to receive a high dose of drugs in the area where the cancer occurred.
Isolated limb perfusion was first introduced into the clinic by American surgeons from New Orleans in the mid-1950s. The main purpose of the isolated limb perfusion technique is to deliver a very high dose of chemotherapy to tumour sites without causing overwhelming systemic damage. (Unfortunately, while these approaches can be useful against solitary or limited metastases, they are - by definition - not systemic and therefore do not treat distributed metastases or micrometastases).
In the early 1990s an alternative technique was developed at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia: isolated limb infusion. This technique is less complex and uses a minimal invasive percutaneous approach to circulatorily isolate a limb.
- Limb perfusion entry in the public domain NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms
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