What is an Implanted Port? A Closer Look

Over the last ten years, I’ve had three PICCs, an implanted port, and numerous peripheral IVs for various infusion therapies. One of the critical areas that allowed for more freedom in my day-to-day life of living with vascular access was transitioning from a PICC to an implanted chest port. Like me, many patients needing long-term IV therapy transition from a PICC (or midline) to a port. I successfully lived with an implanted chest port for frequent infusion therapy for nearly five years.

In your discharge instructions, you should receive the information about ports that you need to know. In our latest series, I will explain the details to help you learn best care practices when making this transition, along with a few tips from my own experience.

What is a port catheter?

A port catheter is an implanted port that is a central line with a round hub under the skin. It is used for long-term IV (intravenous) access for:

Where are ports placed?

The most common port placement is in the chest area, just below the collarbone. As seen in the photo above, I had mine in this location on my right side. Additionally, other potential port placement areas are:

  • In the inner arms
  • abdomen or legs, although this is the least common

What are the parts that make up a port?

A port has two main parts that make up this medical device:

  • The Reservoir: This is the round and small raised area under your skin
    • This “Hub” is where the needle is inserted, often referred to as “being accessed,” to give medicines or draw blood
  • The Catheter: The catheter is a long tube that extends from the reservoir. This is placed into a large vein.
    • The medication that is inserted into the reservoir goes into the catheter and then into the vein.

What other topics do you want us to cover regarding ports? Leave a comment below or email us directly here. 

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, do not treat it as such. You must not rely on the information in this platform as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you may be suffering from any medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this platform.

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