Port Placement

Port Placement

A port or long term venous access catheter is placed by a surgeon at University Surgeons Associates for chemotherapy, intravenous alimentation or antibiotic therapy.  This allows access to a large central vein with less trauma and discomfort to the patient.  It also decreases the amount of irritation and damage to the veins from the medications.  A port is placed beneath the skin surface, which decreases the risk for infection.  Access is by sticking the port through the skin with a special needle.

A port is a small, round disc made of plastic or metal that is placed under your skin. A catheter connects the port to a large vein, most often in your chest. Your nurse can insert a needle into your port to give you chemotherapy or draw blood. This needle can be left in place for chemotherapy treatments that are given for more than 1 day. Be sure to watch for signs of infection around your port.

  • Preoperative preparation includes blood work, medical evaluation, chest x-ray and an EKG depending on your age and medical condition.
  • After your surgeon reviews with you the potential risks and benefits of the operation, you will need to provide written consent for surgery.
  • Blood transfusion and/or blood products may rarely be needed depending on your condition.
  • It is recommended that you shower with an antibacterial soap the night before or morning of the operation.
  • After midnight the night before the operation, you should not eat or drink anything except medications that your surgeon and/or anesthesiologist has told you to take with a sip of water the morning of surgery.
  • Drugs such as aspirin, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medications (arthritis medications) and large doses of Vitamin E will need to be stopped temporarily for several days to a week prior to surgery.
  • Diet medication or St. John’s Wort should not be used for the two weeks prior to surgery.
  • Quit smoking and arrange for any help you may need at home.

You will most likely be asked to check into the hospital the morning of your surgery.

  • A port placement is performed under a local or a general anesthesia.  It usually takes less than one hour.
  • A small incision is made at the planned site for the port and a pocket for the port is made.
  • The vein is accessed and the port tubing is threaded into position and checked with fluoroscopy.
  • After the surgeon places and secures the port within the pocket, the small incision is closed.

Our goal is for your surgery and recovery to be as comfortable and convenient as possible.  After a port placement, you may experience temporary pain and swelling at the port site.

  • Most Patients are able to engage in light activity while at home after surgery. Patients shower the day after the operation.
  • Post-operative pain is generally mild and patients may require a pain pill or pain medication.
  • Most patients can resume normal activities within a day or two, including driving, walking up stairs, light lifting, and work.
  • You should call and schedule a follow-up appointment within 2 weeks after your operation.

Port placement is generally considered extremely safe. As with any operation, there is a risk of a complication. Complications during the operation may include:

  • Bleeding or hematoma
  • Rarely infection of the wound
  • Skin wound separation
  • Pneumothorax (air around the lung)
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia

Be sure to call your physician or surgeon if you develop any of the following symptoms after surgery:

  • Persistent fever over 101 degrees F (39 C)
  • Chills
  • Bleeding
  • Pain that is not relieved by your medications
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • You are unable to eat or drink liquids
  • Persistent cough or shortness of breath
  • Purulent drainage (pus) from the incision
  • Redness surrounding the incision that is worsening or getting bigger

University Surgeons Associates

1934 Alcoa Hwy Building D, Suite #285 Knoxville, TN 37920 865-305-9620 Fax: 865-525-3460