Venous Access Port

A venous access port is a central venous access device that allows doctors to easily access your veins to give treatments and to take blood. It is made of a non-irritant material and is designed to be inserted under your skin and remain in place for weeks or months. It is also known as a subcutaneous infusion port and includes a catheter (a thin hollow tube), which is inserted through the skin and is then connected to a port in a pocket under the skin.

When is this procedure recommended?

Venous access ports are commonly used in the care of cancer patients, but there are many other conditions that benefit from the use of venous access ports. Modern venous access ports are light and can be used during imaging procedures.

How is this procedure performed?

The procedure for implanting a venous access catheter is performed on an out-patient basis, under fluoroscopic guidance. In most cases, the port is inserted into the patient’s upper chest or arm. From there a thin catheter is placed in a vein.

Once the interventional radiologist has accessed the vein, they will use a guidewire to introduce a sheath and create a small pocket under the skin in the chest area. The catheter is then tunneled to the vein and the port is connected to the catheter and placed in the pocket.  The wall of the port can be used for approximately 2000 punctures.

What are the benefits?

  • Long-term device that can be used repeatedly for many years.
  • Only need to be placed once and require little maintenance between infusions
  • Lower risk of infection than externalized catheters
  • Reduce the needle sticks and allow for multiple medicines to be administered at once
  • Devices are hidden beneath the skin, with only a small bump to indicate their location


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