Port Placements and Removals

A vascular access procedure involves placing a thin hollow plastic tube, or catheter, into a vein to permit drawing blood tests, and giving medications, fluids and nutrition, or transfusions directly into the bloodstream, over a period of weeks, months or even years. A port, or subcutaneous implantable catheter, is placed entirely under the skin. There is a small reservoir, a plastic or metal cylinder usually placed just below the collar bone, connected to a catheter that enters the jugular vein in the neck. These may stay in for months to years, or permanently. They are accessed with a needle puncture through the skin into a silicone membrane in the top of the reservoir port. The most common use of a port is to give chemotherapy medications that must be delivered into a very large, or central, vein where there is a large blood flow to dilute the medicine.