What to expect when getting a port placed for chemotherapy

If you are receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment, you may need a port placement procedure. A port is a small medical device that is inserted under the skin, usually in the chest or arm, to provide easy access for chemotherapy treatments. Here are some important things to know about getting a port placed for chemotherapy:
Woman's chest showing port
  • The Procedure - The port placement procedure is a minor surgery that can be done under local anesthesia. Your doctor will create a small incision to place the port under your skin. Once the port is in place, a catheter will be inserted into a vein in your neck or chest, which will be connected to the port. The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour, and you will be able to go home the same day.
  • Benefits of a Port - One of the main benefits of a port is that it provides easy access to your veins for chemotherapy treatments. Ports can also be used to draw blood for testing, which can reduce the need for repeated needle sticks. Additionally, ports are typically more comfortable than traditional IVs, and they can reduce the risk of damage to your veins.
  • After the Procedure - After the port placement procedure, you may experience some discomfort, swelling, or bruising around the insertion site. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medication to manage any discomfort. You should avoid lifting heavy objects or doing strenuous exercise for a few days after the procedure. With some time you will forget you even have a port. 
  • Care and Maintenance - Your doctor will provide specific instructions for caring for your port, but generally, you will need to keep the insertion site clean and dry. You will also need to have your port flushed with saline solution or heparin regularly. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions for care and maintenance to ensure the port functions properly.
  • Risks and Complications - As with any medical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with port placement. These may include bleeding, infection, and damage to nearby organs or tissues. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of port placement, and be sure to report any unusual symptoms or side effects after the procedure.

Getting a port placed for chemotherapy is a relatively simple procedure that can provide many benefits for cancer patients. Talk to your doctor about whether a port is right for you, and be sure to follow their instructions for care and maintenance to ensure the port functions properly.

Clothing that allows for comfortable and easy port access is key for a relaxed infusion. Our long-sleeved shirt is designed specifically to allow for easy port access while maintaining a modern look and feel and allows you to hold on to your sense of style while on your cancer journey. 

Did you have a port placed for treatment? If so, what was your experience like? 

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