What to Expect When You Get Your Port Placed

Sometimes referred to as a port-a-cath, a port is a small medical device that allows easy access to your veins for recurrent blood draws and delivery of intravenous medications or fluids. If you’ve ever needed frequent intravenous (IV) treatment or experienced failure of IV access, you’ll likely appreciate the many benefits of having a port. 

Dr. Lev Pukin is a board-certified vascular and interventional radiologist who leads the team at Vein and Vascular Solutions NYC in the Midwood area of Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Pukin has a stellar reputation for accurately diagnosing and treating conditions that affect your vein/vascular health. He is also well known for his skill in implantable port placement

Read what Dr. Pukin has to say about port placement, what the procedure is like, and why you might need one.

Why have a port instead of a standard IV?

Ports are beneficial for individuals who require frequent IV access for delivery of medication, and recurrent blood draws for diagnostic testing and evaluation of specific treatments. 

For instance, patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer often require IV access several times a week. Because chemotherapy also affects your bone marrow’s ability to produce healthy blood cells, the treatment typically requires frequent blood draws to check your blood count. 

Other reasons for using a port rather than a standard IV include:

Some individuals have problematic veins that may make standard IV placement very difficult. A port resolves that issue and offers direct access to a vein to deliver medication, etc. 

What is the procedure like?

Port placement is a quick, in-office procedure that’s considered minor surgery. You remain awake during implantation of the port but are given sedatives to help you relax. Dr. Pukin also uses a topical anesthetic to numb the targeted area.

The port is about a quarter’s size and typically about ½ inch thick with a small tube (catheter) attached. After making a small incision just beneath your collar bone, Dr. Pukin creates a small tissue pocket that will hold the device in place just under the skin’s surface. 

He then uses real-time X-ray imaging (fluoroscopy) to guide the catheter to the targeted vessel accurately and creates a small nick in the vein, through which he inserts the catheter.

What happens after port placement? 

At the time of your procedure, Dr. Pukin provides detailed instructions on caring for your port site, which may be a little bruised and tender for a few days. We typically recommend avoiding getting the bandages wet initially but can shower, swim, etc. after the incision sites heal.

Dr. Pukin takes care to place the port in an area that does not interfere with a standard bra strap, but you may need to fold a towel over the area when using a seatbelt to help prevent undue pressure on the port.    

For outstanding care regarding your vascular health that may include port placement, schedule a visit at Vein and Vascular Solutions NYC today.

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