Port Placement

Port placement is a medical procedure to implant a small medical appliance under the skin. The device includes a catheter that connects the port to a vein. Under the skin, the port has a septum through which drugs can be injected and blood samples can be drawn many times, usually with less discomfort for the patient than a more typical “needle stick.” Ports are used mostly to treat hematology and oncology patients, but recently ports have been adapted also for hemodialysis patients. The port is usually in the upper chest, just below the clavicle or collar bone. The outpatient procedure is minimally invasive. Patients will receive local anesthesia with some sedation as well as pain control during the removal, as needed. The procedure requires two incisions of one-half inch in the neck and three-inches in the chest wall. After surgery patients experience some bruising, swelling, and tenderness where the port was placed, but these symptoms usually go away gradually over the first three to five days. Over the counter medicines may be taken for relief of the discomfort. Once healed, the port should not affect the patient’s daily activities such as bathing. When the port is no longer needed, it can be surgically removed in another outpatient procedure.

Interventional radiology is a medical specialty that uses minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat a wide range of health problems, and it is an integral part of comprehensive patient care. The UAB Medicine interventional radiology team is a dedicated group of skilled, innovative health care professionals who are committed to providing the highest quality of care to our patients.

The group uses the latest and most advanced technology and imaging methods, including fluoroscopy, ultrasound, and CT scans, to treat tumors as well as peripheral arterial, venous, urologic, and hepatobiliary diseases. Each of our five dedicated angiography suites has the full range of imaging technology needed for complex procedures, along with the latest in patient monitoring and documentation systems. Because UAB Medicine is an academic health center, patients may be offered participation in clinical research trials, which can provide access to new techniques and treatments that are not available elsewhere in the area.

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