Limit Needle Pokes!

A port or port-a-Cath is medical plastic tube that connects to a metal or plastic disk to make frequent access to a vein easier. It is surgically placed under the skin. The outpatient surgery lasts 45-60 minutes using general anesthesia. The port is placed under the skin, usually in the right side of the chest. You will experience some bruising and see a bump where the port is placed. You will not see the catheter that attaches to the vein. Medical ports used for giving blood for labs, giving treatments, including intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, or drugs such as chemotherapy and antibiotics. The port allows medication into the body, then seals itself shut. To access the port, a medical technician inserts a special needle into the Port-a-Cath to access your vein and connects your port to the medication bag in the hospital.

It may not seem like it at the time, but there are benefits to getting a Port-a-Cath.

A Port-a-Cath bypass the pain and potential risks of using needle sticks for every treatment or blood draw.

Lower infection risk compared with other IV methods
Easy to care for compared to other IV lines
Long duration: A Port-a-Cath stay in the vein for a long time.
Hidden appearance as they sit under the skin.
A Port-a-Cath can last between 2 and 6 years.

Although research says your port will last only 2-6 years, I still use mine and it was placed in 2004. My stage IV breast cancer has been in remission since 2008 (Praise God!). I remember all the experiences I went through with my little device. I still see my oncologist regularly, where the medical staff will do blood draws using my port. I get scans and MRIs where they access my port. I get infusions where they access my port. I cannot imagine having to endure multiple needle sticks to get this administered. Although, you are not completely saved from the needle sticks. Your port will have to be accessed with a needle stick. However, having a port does reduce the number of sticks I have to get overall!

The following information can help someone compare different types of IV lines:
Peripheral IV line (PIV) Short Forearm Up to 4 days
Peripherally inserted central-line catheter (PICC) Long Upper arm Weeks or Months
Central venous catheter (CVC) Long Chest or neck Weeks or months
Port-a-Cath Short Under the skin on the chest Years
Limit Painful Pokes!