Chest Ports

Your doctor has decided that a port is the best intravenous access for you at this time.

A port is a metal or plastic disc that is implanted under the skin. The disc is connected to a tube (catheter) which is placed under the skin and into a large vein called the superior vena cava. Ports are used to administer IV fluids, chemotherapy, nutrition, blood products and to draw blood. They are particularly convenient for patients requiring many IV infusions of medications, frequent monitoring of blood tests and those patients with difficult to access arm veins. You can go home with the port in and it can be left in place for weeks, months or, for some people, years.

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The port is ready for use immediately after it has been put in. When you are about to have treatment or have a blood sample taken, the skin over the port can be numbed with an anaesthetic cream which should l be applied about half an hour beforehand or else a lidocaine injection may be given subcutaneously right before access.

A special needle, known as a Huber needle, is used to push through the skin and into the port. It should not be painful but you may feel a pushing sensation. The Huber needle sits inside the port allowing treatment to be given directly into the bloodstream.

What happens during the procedure?

Conscious sedation is provided just prior to starting the procedure.

You will lie flat on the x-ray table. You will be connected to several types of monitoring equipment. Pillows can be placed under your knees to help take the pressure off your back. A towel is wrapped around your head to protect your hair from the antiseptic solutions used to clean your skin. Sterile drapes are placed over your head and body with your neck/upper chest exposed. Your face will not be covered and the nurse can communicate with you during the procedure.
The Interventional Radiologist will inject lidocaine, a local anesthetic, under the skin overlying the site of entry into the vein (right or left neck) and also into skin below the collar bone to create a small pocket for the port to be placed just under the skin. You may have sensations of pulling but should feel no pain during the procedure. After the port has been inserted, the incision is sutured using absorbable sutures. This procedure takes 1 -2 hours.

What happens after the procedure?
If conscious sedation medicine was administered, you will be required to stay to recover for 2 hours following the end of the procedure.Return home and rest quietly for the remainder of the day.  DO NOT drive, or make legal decisions today.  You may resume normal activity tomorrow. You may resume your normal diet after the procedure.  Avoid alcoholic beverages for 24 hours.

DO NOT
take aspirin-containing products, ibuprofen, vitamin E, or blood thinning medicine for 24 hours after the procedure.  You may take Tylenol for mild discomfort.  Call your physician for pain unrelieved with Tylenol.

  1. Return home and rest quietly for the remainder of the day.  DO NOT drive, or make legal decisions today.  You may resume normal activity tomorrow.
  2. Have a responsible adult drive you home.
  3. You may resume your normal diet after the procedure.  Avoid alcoholic beverages for 24 hours.
  4. DO NOT take aspirin-containing products, ibuprofen, vitamin E, or blood thinning medicine for 24 hours after the procedure.  You may take Tylenol for mild discomfort.  Call your physician for pain unrelieved with Tylenol.

If you have any questions or need to reschedule an appointment please feel free to contact the Interventional Radiology Office at 802- 847-8359. Our business hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Someone is available to take your call after hours for emergencies.

This information is provided by the Fletcher Allen Health Care, Department of Radiology, Division of Interventional Radiology and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact your health care provider.