Port Placement for Venous Access
Your doctor has recommended a port placement to help facilitate frequent delivery of medications by the intravenous route. The port enables a reliable access to a larger vein that has a higher blood flow. A larger vein is less likely irritated by medications. Specially trained nurses will be able to access your port without the necessity of multiple attempts to access veins in your arms or legs to deliver the medicine that you need.
There are a number of different brands and types of ports but they all have many things in common.
The port is placed in the operating room usually under a light general anesthetic supplemented by the infiltration of local anesthetic. There are two parts: the actual port which sits below the skin in a pocket below the collar bone and a second part which is a tube, or catheter that goes in the vein and is attached to the port. All of the components are underneath the skin. The entire procedure is done as an outpatient and the surgery lasts about one hour or less and then you are discharged from the recovery area after you have recovered from the affects of anesthesia
The port is accessed by the nurse after the skin is cleaned over the port site. A special needle is used so that when it is removed the port can “self-seal” enabling it to be used hundreds of times without a leak occurring where the needle was used to inject, or deliver, the medicine(s). When the treatment session is finished usually the needle is removed and then you can shower and resume normal activities.
In many cases the port remains in until it is not needed. Some cases require removal because of complications (eg., infection, clotting, cracking) but usually the port is not removed until it is felt that it will not be needed for further medication delivery. Removal, like placement, is done in the operating room, but is usually a slightly shorter procedure. Immediate postoperative physical activity restrictions will be reviewed with you by your surgeon but usually after a few days usually you can resume all your normal physical activities.