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Implanted Port: Before Your Procedure

What is an implanted port?

An implanted port is a type of central venous catheter, or central venous line, that is used to put medicine, blood, nutrients, or fluids directly into your blood. It can also be used to draw blood for tests. The port makes doing these things more comfortable for you. You may hear it called an implanted venous access device (IVAD), a port-a-cath, or a central line. People can have a port for weeks, months, or longer.

Fluid goes into the port through a special needle called a Huber needle. You may feel a bit of discomfort when the needle goes into the port. The Huber needle may stay in the port for a short time so the port can be used. When the port is not being used, the Huber needle is removed.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before the procedure?

Preparing for the procedure

  • Bring a list of questions to ask your doctors. It is important that you understand exactly what procedure is planned, the risks, benefits, and other options before your procedure.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia. Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your procedure.
  • If you take blood thinners, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
  • You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before your procedure, so talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • Before your procedure, you may speak with a healthcare provider to discuss your options, including the risks, benefits, and other choices for each. This may be on the phone or in person.

Taking care of yourself before the procedure

  • Build healthy habits into your life. Changes are best made several weeks before the procedure, since your body may react to sudden changes in your habits.
    • Stay as active as you can.
    • Eat a healthy diet.
    • Cut back or quit alcohol and tobacco.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. If you do not have one, you may want to prepare one so your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors recommend that everyone prepare these papers before a procedure, regardless of the type of procedure or condition.

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking, or your procedure may be cancelled. If your doctor has instructed you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, please do so using only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Remove all jewellery, piercings, and contact lenses.
  • Leave your valuables at home.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • A small tube (IV) may be placed in a vein, to give you fluids and medicine to help you relax.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your healthcare provider. The anesthesia may range from making you fully asleep to simply numbing the area being worked on. This will depend on the procedure you are having, as well as a discussion between your doctor, the anesthesia provider, and you.
  • The procedure will take about 1 hour.
  • After the procedure, the nurse will check to be sure you are stable and comfortable. It is important for you to tell your doctor and nurse how you feel and ask questions about any concerns you may have.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home.
  • For your safety, you should not drive until you are no longer taking pain medicines, and you can move and react easily.
  • You will be told how to use and care for the implanted port.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your procedure, including activity and when you may return to work.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter L362 in the search box to learn more about "Implanted Port: Before Your Procedure".

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.