Q:

How are chemo ports put in?

A:

Quick Answer

A port for the administration of chemotherapy is placed in the chest wall about an inch below the center of the collar bone, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The port placement procedure is a brief operation usually done under local anesthesia with conscious sedation.

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Full Answer

The port placement procedure is done in either the operating room or the interventional radiology department of the hospital, notes Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Once the patient is prepped for surgery, an intravenous line is started so that medications to reduce anxiety and induce drowsiness can be administered. At the same time, the insertion site is thoroughly cleaned and numbed with local anesthetic.

Incisions are made both above and below the collar bone, and a tunnel for the port's catheter is created between the two incisions, states Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Another small incision is made into either the subclavian or jugular vein, and the catheter is gently threaded into the vein. A pocket is created for the port itself, which rests just under the skin. The incisions are sutured closed and the site bandaged. Full healing takes about a week, though the port can be used for blood draws and medication administration on the same day it is placed.

Central venous catheters such as ports come in a variety of shapes and sizes, notes About.com. They increase patient comfort for the long term administration of medication and frequent blood draws associated with cancer treatment. They help prevent venous injury due to the caustic nature of many chemo drugs and make it easier to bathe and swim without worrying about infection risk.

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