What Are Some Complications of Port Surgery for Chemotherapy?


Quick Answer

Possible complications of port surgery for chemotherapy include bleeding, infections and device malfunctioning, explains University of Washington Medicine. Blockages and clotting can also occur, according to Cancer.net. Warning signs of port complications include leaking fluid, fever, swelling, bruising and redness. Shortness of breath, dizziness, substantial amounts of bleeding and skin warmth can also signal complications. Inability to flush the port with liquid suggests a blockage.

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Full Answer

Most bleeding at the port site is minor and short-lived, but patients should seek immediate medical attention in the event of severe bleeding or bleeding that continues after applying gentle pressure for 15 minutes, advises UW Medicine. Occasionally, patients develop an infection shortly after port placement, but the physician administers an IV antibiotic prior to the insertion surgery to minimize the risk of this occurring. It is more common for infections to occur one week or longer following the initial insertion. The doctor can remove the port if an especially severe infection develops at the port site or enters the patient's bloodstream.

For 24 hours after the insertion procedure, patients should refrain from driving, operating machinery or making any important or legally binding decisions, as it is common to experience drowsiness and short-term memory loss, according to UW Medicine. To lessen the chance of infection, they must also refrain from any activities that can result in water getting onto the insertion site, such as showering or bathing, until the first dressing change.

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