A port-a-cath is a type of vascular catheter commonly referred to as a central venous catheter (CVC) or central venous access device (CVAD). These devices are implanted underneath the skin within a large vein typically located in the chest or arm. Port-a-caths are used as a way to consistently administer drugs, such as chemotherapy treatments, blood, or nutrients directly to the bloodstream without having to puncture the skin every time. The port-a-cath is composed of the port area, which is a self-sealing, silicone entry point that allows a needle to repeatedly puncture it hundreds of times. The catheter portion of the device consists of a long tube that connects to the port and allows the injected fluids to travel into the bloodstream. At Arizona Premier Surgery, our surgeons can carefully place the port-a-cath into the vein with guidance from an ultrasound to ensure accurate placement.
Common Reasons for Surgery
A port-a-cath insertion allows constant and safer chemotherapy treatments to be administered without the patient needing a new IV to be inserted each time. This also prevents damaging substances from leaking and causing external damage the skin. This is the most common usage for port-a-caths and many cancer patients receive them as their primary method of receiving chemotherapy treatment.
Blood Transfusions or Dialysis
Patients who require continual or frequent blood transfusions or dialysis treatments (blood removal) benefit from vascular catheters because it allows them constant access and for transfusions or waste removal to be performed at home or outside the hospital.
CVCs are also frequently used to allow constant access to alternative nutrition for patients who have trouble with solid food intake or their body is unable to produce some of its necessary nutrients.
About Port-a-Cath Procedures
Vascular access procedures are one of the operations performed by our team of highly-skilled surgeons at Arizona Premier Surgery. The process of implanting a port-a-cath will begin with the patient receiving general or local anesthesia. Guided by a sonogram, the vascular surgeon will then insert the port-a-cath into a large, central vein located in the arm, leg, or chest that has direct access to the heart. Typically, the right jugular vein is an ideal placement point for central venous catheters. After the insertion is successful, the patient will need little recovery time, as this procedure is usually performed as an outpatient operation.
What to Expect
General or local anesthesia will be administered during the procedure which usually lasts between 30 minutes and 1 hour. It is considered an outpatient operation, so recovery time will last for 1-2 hours before the patient is cleared for release from the hospital. Minor discomfort or soreness around the surgical site is normal for a few days, but patients should be able to resume their normal activities within a week after the operation. Patients can schedule a follow-up appointment if they have any further concerns or questions.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 2 Days
- Average Procedure Time
- 30 Minutes
- Post-op Follow-up
- As Needed
- Procedure Recovery Location
If you have a condition that merits a central venous catheter, our surgeons encourage you to call or visit Arizona Premier Surgery to find out how you can obtain a port-a-cath and benefit from a more streamlined and efficient method of treatment to meet your health needs.