Resources

Q

What is a venous access device?

A

A venous access device is a term commonly used to describe an implantable port. An implantable port is a device that is placed under the skin in either the upper arm or chest. It is used to deliver long-term medications such as chemotherapy into the bloodstream. All ports consist of a small chamber (“the port”) and a catheter. The port has an area of self-sealing silicone rubber in the center called the septum. The catheter is a flexible hollow tube. One end is securely attached to the port, and the other end is placed into a large vein.

Q

How does the interventional radiologist implant the port?

A

Insertion of an implantable port is a brief procedure that is performed under local anesthesia. Interventional radiologists use ultrasound or contrast-enhanced fluoroscopic guidance techniques that allows accurate visualization of the target vein. The interventional radiologist makes a small incision to create a space or “pocket” for the port under the skin where it will be placed. The port is inserted under the skin and the catheter is placed within a nearby vein. The incision is stitched closed and kept covered with a small dressing until is has completely healed, a process that usually takes a few days. You are sent home within 2 hours following the procedure.

Q

How do I take care of my port?

A

You will keep the incision clean and dry for 7 days and observe for any signs of infection. It is also necessary to keep the site covered with a small dressing (this will be given to you) for 7 days following implantation. After your incision has healed, there is no special care of the area required. However, you should inspect the skin area around the port on a routine basis. If you observe redness, tenderness, irritation, swelling, or any unusual symptom, you should report this immediately.

Q

Can my port be used immediately after it is inserted?

A

Yes. Your port can be used for treatments as soon as the insertion procedure is complete.

Q

How long will I have the implantable port in place?

A

Your port can remain in place as long as your doctor feels you need it. As long as the system is periodically flushed to keep the catheter from becoming blocked, the port can remain under the skin indefinitely.