How Is It Removed
Ports can stay in the body for months or even years. But once your treatment is over and you dont need your port anymore, your doctor will schedule an appointment to remove it.
As with the implantation surgery, removing a port involves a short, outpatient procedure, thats typically done with local anesthesia. Youll be awake but drowsy during the procedure.
To remove your port, your doctor will make a small incision in the area of the port and will remove the port as well as the catheter that leads to a vein. The incision will then be closed up, and youll follow the care instructions of your treatment team.
Intravenous Lines Catheters And Ports
Intravenous lines are thin, flexible, plastic hoses that run from a bottle or bag of medicine into a tiny needle or intravenous catheter placed in a vein in your body. IV lines must always be germ-free to be sure no infections get into your blood. IV supplies are used only once and are never re-used. They are used to put medicines, blood products, nutrients, or fluids right into your blood. Sometimes, they can also be used to take out blood for testing.
Medicines can be given through these catheters at different speeds . Sometimes medicines are given through the catheters in just a few minutes, while other medicines may need to be given over a period of hours. The speed depends on the type of treatment being given and the type of catheter being used. Sometimes medicines can be given just by attaching a syringe to the catheter and pushing the medication into it, while other times the medication is attached to a mechanical pump that makes sure only a certain amount of medication is sent through the catheter each hour.
There are different kinds of IV lines and catheters. Which kind is used depends on what the IV is needed for, how often it is needed, the type of medicine that will be given through it, and the care it might need.
If you leave the hospital with an IV line, catheter, or port, your nurse will teach you how to care for it and what problems to watch for.
Tubes Used To Give Medicine Or Nourishment
Liquid medicines or feedings might be given through a tube placed in the stomach or the small intestine. They are often called tube feedings. If these feedings will only be needed for a short time, a tube can be put in through the nose and directed down to the stomach without needing surgery. If liquid food is needed for a longer period of time, surgery might be done to insert a feeding tube through the skin of the belly and directly into the stomach or the small intestine .
Tubes used for tube feeding should be kept clean but don’t have to be sterile. The bags used to give feedings can be cleaned and re-used for the same person. Your nurse will teach you how to clean them and when they should no longer be re-used.
Recommended Reading: Best Edibles For Chemo Patients
What Is An Implanted Port
An implanted port is a type of central venous catheter . A CVC is a flexible tube thats put into one of your veins.
You may need to get medication in a vein larger than the ones in your arms. Your port lets the medication go into your bloodstream through your vein. It can be used to give you medication for several days in a row.
A port protects your veins from damage from repeated access. A port makes it easier for your care team to:
- Collect blood samples.
- Give you intravenous medication. This is medication thats put into one of your veins. Some IV medications, such as anesthesia and some types of chemotherapy , must go through a large vein.
- Give you IV fluids.
- Give you IV blood products, such as platelets and plasma.
- Give you IV contrast. This is a special dye that helps your healthcare provider see your organs better.
Your healthcare provider will tell you if getting a port is best for you and your treatment.
A surgeon or interventional radiologist will place your port. An IR doctor is a doctor who is a specialist in image-guided procedures. They usually will place your port in your chest. A port sometimes can go into your upper arm instead. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about where your port will be placed.
Ports placed in the chest usually are about 1 inch below the center of your right collarbone . This allows for the most direct access to your vein. If you wear a bra, your port will be about 1 inch from where your bra strap lies.
How Can Parents Help
After the skin over the port heals, the area doesn’t need special care. Kids can go to school and do most regular activities. They can swim and bathe normally. Check with your health care team about:
- which physical activities are OK for your child
- how often the port needs to be flushed by a nurse
Tell your child’s teachers, school nurse, counselor, and physical education teacher about the port. They can make sure your child avoids any activities that may damage it, and help support your child during treatment.
Don’t Miss: Can Masturbation Cause Prostate Cancer
Placing Your Chemo Port
Your port will need to be placed with outpatient surgery before you undergo chemotherapy. The port can be used immediately, the same day that it is put in.
Your doctor should tell you how to prepare for surgery, such as removing other devices like insulin pumps. In the operating room, after monitors are placed, you will be given anesthesia to put you to sleep or keep you comfortable.
During surgery, the doctor will make two incisions one at your chest, where the reservoir will go, and the other at the base of your neck, where the other end of the port will connect to a vein. Before making the incisions, the doctor will inject a numbing medicine, and afterward, the cuts will be closed with stitches, surgical tape, or surgical glue. Overall, port placement surgery does not take long.
It is a pretty easy surgery about 45 minutes, wrote one MyBCTeam member. Mine was done under twilight sleep, so I was awake but could not feel pain.
Another shared, I was put completely under for my port placement. It was definitely sore and swollen and bruised for a while.
Mine was put in at the same time as my mastectomy was done, said one member. It was a small incision and healed very quickly.
No one had told me it was going to hurt, and I wasnt prepared for that, shared a member.
Another member posting the day after surgery said, It doesnt hurt except if you hit it.
What Is A Port
A port-a-cath, also referred to as a port, is an implanted device which allows easy access to a patients veins. A port-a-cath is surgically inserted completely beneath the skin and consists of two parts the portal and the catheter.
The portal is typically made from a silicone bubble and appears as a small bump under the skin. The portal, made of special self-sealing silicone, can be punctured by a needle repeatedly before the strength of the material is compromised. Its design contributes to a very low risk of infection. The slender, plastic catheter attached to the portal is threaded into a central vein .
A port has two components:
- This soft silicone top serves as the vein access point.
- Catheter: This thin, flexible tube connects the port directly to a vein.
Also Check: Pros And Cons Of Radiation Therapy
Chemotherapy Ports Benefits And Risks
A chemotherapy port is a small device implanted under the skin that is attached to a vein in the chest to deliver chemotherapy drugs to the body. Without a port, a new intravenous needle would need to be placed each and every time you have chemo.
A chemo port differs from a peripherally inserted central catheter , which is implanted into a vein in your arm and used for a shorter period of time.
This article explains why a chemotherapy port is needed and how the device is implanted. It also outlines the benefits and risks of a chemo port and how infection and other complications are avoided.
Does A Chemo Port Provide Any Other Advantages Over An Iv Catheter
In addition to streamlining the delivery of chemotherapy medications, a port can provide several other benefits as compared to an IV catheter:
- A port site is prepared with a sterile technique, which ensures that all surfaces are free of microorganisms and thus greatly reduces the risk of infection .
- A port can also be used for delivering fluids and transfusions, drawing blood for lab testing and injecting dye for PET and CT scans.
- A port reduces the risk of medications coming into contact with and possibly irritating the skin.
- A port can be used to provide treatments that span several days.
If you have further questions, you are welcome to talk with an expert at Moffitt. Call or complete our new patient registration form online.
Don’t Miss: What Is Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Get To Know Your Huber Needle For Chemo Port Access
Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Chemotherapy treatment involves needles, and that means you will get stuck with syringes, IV needles, butterfly needles, and Huber needles. Don’t panic the first time you see that long, curved chemo needleit is designed to make treatment easier on you. Learn how to prevent the sting of a needle stick, know the size of needle you need, and how the Huber needle is safer for you and your nurse.
My First Chemo Treatment Begins
After the nurse accessed my port for the visit, they began the days combination of prescribed medicationsa sequence that I would learn over 16 total visits. My chemotherapy treatment started with saline to flush my port, then pre-medications for side-effects management. Next came the bags of chemo drugs, and finished with more saline.
I felt normal and strong while the chemo medications were pushed through my body I drank a ton of water to flush my system as efficiently as possible. I thought I would feel crummy instantly, but for me the side effects kicked in later.
The entire chemotherapy treatment process went very smoothly and I was thankful for the accommodating health system where I had treatment. There were always plenty of snacks, beverages, books, art therapy opportunities, words of encouragement and support. Chemo didnt feel like a party, but at least it wasnt a dismal place of worry or sadness. Put another way, cancer is a club that no one wants to join but the people are really nice!
On those Thursday nights I would try to get as much rest as I could, since I would return to work early Friday morning.
Also Check: Shoulder Pain That Radiates Down The Arm
How Is The Implantable Port Put In
A doctor called a radiologist or a specialist nurse will put your port in at the hospital. It is usually done in the operating theatre, or an area called the vascular radiology unit. You will usually have a local anaesthetic to numb the area. A general anaesthetic is sometimes used.
You will usually be able to go home on the same day. You may want to discuss the position of the port with your doctor before it is put in.
How To Sleep On The Side Of The Body
Although it is preferable for people with a chemo port to sleep on their back, side sleeping is a possibility. However, side sleepers will need to consider a few things once their chemo port is in place.
Immediately after the procedure, the skin will be sensitive and may hurt. It is advisable to avoid any unnecessary contact or pressure. Due to this, a person will need to sleep on their back until the area heals.
After the skin heals, it is still not a good idea to apply pressure to the area, as doing so can lead to irritation or discomfort. To sleep on the side without applying pressure to the chest, people can try:
- using body pillows to support their body and prevent them from rolling onto their front
- placing a pillow between the knees
- placing large pillows on one side of the bed to discourage sleeping on the side of the body with the chemo port
Recommended Reading: Natural Remedies For Neuropathy From Chemo
Preparing For The Procedure
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your procedure. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don’t have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It’s a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
Questions To Ask Your Health Care Team
Why do you recommend I get a catheter or port?
What type of catheter or port do I need?
What are the risks of this type of catheter or port? What problems should I tell you about right away?
Who should I call if I have problems with my catheter or port? What about after-hours?
What portion of the cost will my health insurance cover of putting this catheter or port in?
Will I feel any pain or discomfort when the catheter or port is put in?
How long does it take to put in a catheter or port?
How long will my catheter or port stay in?
How should I care for my catheter or port? How often?
Will I be able to see or feel the catheter or port?
How will a catheter or port affect my daily life? Will I be able to wear regular clothes, bathe, swim, and exercise?
Will a catheter or port cause problems with radiation therapy or scans?
You May Like: How To Feel For Breast Cancer
What To Do About Chemo Port Discomfort
After doctors insert a chemo port, it is fairly normal to experience some discomfort. A person will likely experience some swelling, inflammation, and tenderness. Bruising may also occur, which can take longer to go away.
It is important to avoid any clothing or items that create pressure or friction over the chest during the first 1â2 days after the procedure. Examples include:
- tight clothing, such as bras
- cross-body bags or straps
People also should not lift heavy objects or participate in strenuous exercise until the incision heals, which takes about 1 week. A doctor can advise on when it is okay to start exercising again.
For tight clothes and straps that are unavoidable, such as seatbelts, people can cushion them with pillows or padding.
Some mild discomfort is normal for those with chemo ports. However, it is important to get medical help immediately if a person develops:
- swelling or discoloration long after the initial procedure
- excessive pain, especially without a clear cause
- fluid or pus around the port site
How Are Catheters And Ports Removed
Your doctor or nurse will take out or your catheter or port when you no longer need it.
If you have a PICC line, the doctor or nurse will gently pull the tube until it feels loose. Then they will remove it. This does not usually hurt and you do not normally need anesthesia.
If you have a port or neck or chest catheter, your doctor or radiologist will make a small cut in the skin. Then they will gently remove the port or catheter. You may need local anesthesia or conscious sedation.
Read Also: Does Chemo Make You Lose Your Hair
Problems That Might Happen With Central Venous Catheters
Potential problems could develop in CVCs. What kind of problems might happen depend on the type of catheter that’s used.
Possible problems when a CVC is inserted, or put in:
- You may have pain where the catheter is put in or where it lies under your skin.
- The needle or catheter thats used might damage the vein or another blood vessel. This can cause bruising or bleeding at the puncture site, or infection.
- Tests will be done before the CVC is put in to be sure that your blood clots normally. Even when it does clot normally, blood can leak out of the vein and cause bruising, pressure on other blood vessels or organs, and other problems. In most cases, bleeding is mild and stops on its own.
- Sometimes a condition called a collapsed lung may develop when a CVC is placed in the chest or neck. This happens when a lung is punctured and air collects in the chest outside the lung. CVC placement guided by ultrasound or fluoroscopy greatly decreases this risk.
- Your normal heart rhythm may be disturbed when the catheter is put in. This is usually only temporary and the normal rhythm returns when the catheter is repositioned. It rarely causes serious problems.
- In rare cases, the catheter will go into the wrong place, like an artery instead of a vein. If this happens, the catheter will have to be taken out. If there are no other complications, the artery usually heals by itself.
Problems that could happen later with CVCs:
When to call your cancer care team