What is a PICC Line?

A PICC line, or Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter, is thin, soft plastic tubing that functions as a long-term IV line, allowing medical professionals a simple, pain-free way to draw blood or give medications or nutrients as needed. A PICC line stays in place for as long as needed.

What can I expect during this procedure?

Your arm will be cleaned and a sterile cloth will be draped over the area to prevent infection. A tourniquet will be placed on your arm, and then you will receive medication to numb the area. An ultrasound machine will be used to find the veins in your upper arm. A small needle will then be inserted into the vein, through which the PICC line will guided into place. X-ray guidance will be used during or after the procedure to ensure proper placement of the line. Inserting the PICC line takes approximately ½ hour, and most patients experience little or no discomfort.

What is a Chemotherapy Port?

An implantable port is a thin, soft, plastic tube that is put into a vein in your chest or arm and has an opening (port) just under the skin. This allows medicines to be given into the vein or blood to be taken from the vein. The tube is long, thin and hollow, and is known as a catheter. The port is a disc about 2.5–4cm in diameter. The catheter is usually inserted (tunneled) under the skin of your chest. The tip of the catheter lies in a large vein just above your heart and the other end connects with the port which sits under the skin on your upper chest. The port will show as a small bump underneath your skin, which can be felt but is not visible on the outside of your body.

What can I expect during this procedure?

You will be given medicine to help you to relax. A local anesthetic will be administered to numb a couple of small areas on your chest and neck. After this you may be aware of activity around you and may feel some pressure on your chest (or arm), but you should not feel any pain.

You will have one or two small incisions (cuts in your skin). If the port is put into your chest vein the incision on your upper chest will be about 3–4 cm long and is where the port is placed. There will be a smaller incision above this, which is usually less than 1–2 cm long. The catheter will be put into a vein in your neck. It will then be tunneled under the skin from the lower chest incision to the incision above. The catheter is then attached to the port, which is fitted into a space created under the skin. The incisions are then stitched with dissolvable sutures. If the port is put into a vein in your arm the incision will be on the inner side of your arm. You may also have a chest x-ray to make sure the port is in the right place. A small dressing will be used to cover the wounds for one week following the procedure.

What can I expect after the procedure?

You may feel a bit sore and bruised for a few days after the port is put in. A mild over the counter pain medication will help, but do not use aspirin. Immediately after the port has been put in, and for a few days afterwards, check for any redness, swelling, bleeding, bruising, pain or heat around the incisions. An ice pack for a few days after the procedure will reduce swelling and help to minimize pain. A follow appointment will be scheduled 1 week after the procedure to check your port.

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