A port is a small device with a reservoir inside that is sealed by a soft top called a septum. The port connects to a small flexible tube called a catheter. A special needle is put in the soft top of the port so that medicines and fluids can be given and blood samples withdrawn. There are many different kinds of ports. Your doctor will select the one that is best for you.
The port is placed beneath your skin during a short, minor surgical procedure. The small tube or catheter is placed inside a vein, a vessel that returns blood to your heart. Ports are often placed in the upper chest or arm. Ask your doctor about the ideal placement location for you that is best suited for your treatment.
Your treatment may require frequent delivery of medicine or fluids into your bloodstream. Your doctor or nurse may also require blood samples. If this is the case, a port may be an appropriate option for your treatment.
Once placed, a port can stay in place as long as your doctor makes sure that it works and that you still need it. While the port itself will still need to be accessed with a needle, there will be a decreased need for the sometimes painful poking and prodding when finding a peripheral vein in the arms or hands with an I.V. every time you receive treatment or have your blood drawn.
Since ports are typically placed in the chest, port usage can reduce the likelihood of damage to the veins in your arm or hand. This may benefit if you need blood work or I.V.s down the road.
Implanted ports, compared to other centrally placed vascular access devices, are more likely to permit you to go about your normal day-to-day activities, like showering, swimming, and jogging. Ask your doctor or nurse about specific activities and the appropriate time to resume them.
With an implanted port, there is no exposed device. Implanted ports are small and can be hidden from view. No one needs to know about your treatment unless you want them to.
If you are receiving an infusion treatment, it may involve frequent injections or infusions of medication and other fluids directly into the bloodstream. The treatment may also require that blood samples be withdrawn. An implanted port may help to decrease the discomfort of these procedures. Ask your doctor if a port is right for you.