What is a venous access port?

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.

What can I expect during this procedure?

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 allow accurate visualization of the target vein. The 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.

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