In This Page:
- Need to Know
- Nice to Know
- How Does It Work?
- What Happens — Before, During, and After?
- How Should I Prepare?
- What Should I Bring?
- What Are the Benefits and Risks?
A port is a device that is implanted under the skin. It allows an easy and reliable way to give medicine into the veins and take blood samples from the veins.
Need to Know
Nice to Know
How Does It Work?
A port is about the size of a quarter. You can feel its raised center under your skin. A flexible piece of tubing (a catheter) is connected to the port. This is tunneled under the skin to an area near the neck where it enters a vein. Each time you receive medication or need blood drawn, a needle will be inserted into the port rather than into your veins, eliminating the need for multiple needle sticks. You will be given medication to make you as comfortable as possible for the duration of the procedure.
What Happens — Before, During, and After?
When you arrive for your procedure a nurse will greet you and you will be brought into an exam room and asked to change into a gown. You will be asked to empty your bladder before the procedure begins.
An intravenous (IV) line will be inserted into a vein in your hand or arm. This will be used to give you sedatives during the procedure. A brief discussion of your medications and allergies will be discussed and your vital signs will be taken.
The technologist or nurse will help you get as comfortable as possible as you will need to lie on your back very still during the procedure. The nurse or technologist will connect monitors for your heart rate, blood pressure, and pulse. The nurse will give you conscious sedation directed by the doctor during the entire procedure to keep you comfortable. The technologist will shave, sterilize, and cover the area with a surgical drape. A local anesthetic is administered to numb the side of the neck and the chest area. You may feel a tiny pinch and some burning when the anesthetic is administered. The radiologist will then insert a small tube (catheter) in the vein in your neck. Then, a small pocket will be made under your chest about 2 to 3 inches below your collarbone. The port will fit into the pocket. After that, the tubing that is connected to the port which is tunneled under the skin so that it enters the neck vein. After the port is in place, the skin is closed with sutures.
The procedure takes approximately 1 hour.
You will be taken to a recovery area to rest. When you feel ready you will be able to go home. You will need someone to drive you home. Your doctor will discuss any results with you and talk to you about any follow-up appointments you may need.
How Should I Prepare?
There are things you can do to make your experience more comfortable, and many of these will depend on your individual preferences. You might like to keep a list of questions or — as you’re doing now — educate yourself about the procedure.
Some other things to keep in mind in planning for this procedure include:
- You will need to arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure
- Your doctor may ask you to stop taking aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), or blood thinners (such as Coumadin or warfarin) for a time before the procedure
- The day before the procedure (or the Friday before, if you’re scheduled for a Monday procedure), a nurse will call you. The nurse will give you any additional instructions, and will ask if you have any questions.
- When you arrive, make sure the nurse or doctor knows about any allergies you may have, especially to local anesthetics, such as lidocaine.
If there’s any chance you may be pregnant, tell your physician
What Should I Bring?
On the day of your procedure you should:
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Avoid bringing jewelry or valuables
What Are the Benefits and Risks?
The benefits of Port Placement are:
- Elimination of the need for multiple needle sticks
- The port is completely contained under the skin
- The procedure can be performed as an outpatient procedure
Some risks you should be aware of include:
- As with any procedure there is a slight risk of infection. This is rare.
Keep in mind that this information is general. Your radiologist is the best source of information about how these risks and benefits may apply to you.