Healthcare providers use implanted ports to give IV treatments and blood transfusions directly into a vein. A port also allows easy access to a vein for blood draws. People with cancer, severe infections, kidney failure and IBD may need implanted ports. With the device, you need fewer needle sticks for certain treatments, like chemotherapy.
Implanted ports are devices that make it easier for healthcare providers to access a vein. They help people who often need IV treatments or blood draws.
The plastic or metal disc-shaped port is about the size of a quarter. The device goes beneath your skin in your chest, arm or abdomen. It’s usually barely visible under the skin. When you no longer need it, your provider takes it out.
A port has a:
Implanted ports can help adults and children. They work for anyone who needs frequent or long-term IV treatments, blood transfusions or blood draws.
Your healthcare provider may recommend a port if you or your child has:
Types of implanted ports include:
Before you get an implanted port, you may:
A port implant is an outpatient procedure that takes about an hour. You go home the same day, but someone should drive you.
Most people get ports under the skin on the right side of their chest. Sometimes, providers place ports in the inner side of the upper arm or in abdominal skin below the ribcage.
You’ll receive anesthesia to put you into a light sleep. You’ll be conscious during the procedure but won’t remember it. You’ll also get local anesthesia to numb the surgical site. A child may have general anesthesia to sleep more deeply through the procedure.
To place a port in your chest, your provider:
You may be able to feel or see a slight bulge in the skin from the port. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can ease any pain after the placement procedure. You won’t see the port or its rubber cap once the incision heals.
You’ll need to wear a bandage over the incision site. Once the incision heals, you shouldn’t have any discomfort. Avoid lifting anything heavy or doing strenuous activity until your provider gives the OK.
You may go to your provider’s office to receive treatments. For your child, your provider can teach you how to give some treatments at home using the port. Blood draws and transfusions take place at a healthcare facility.
To give IV treatments, you or a healthcare provider:
Ports can last for years. They can handle up to 2,000 needle sticks before replacement becomes necessary. Depending on your treatment plan, you may only need a port for a few weeks or months.
Port removal is faster than placement. You shouldn’t need anesthesia. You may want to take NSAIDs afterward if you have pain.
Uses dissolvable stitches to close the incision.
An implanted port offers many benefits. With the device, you can have:
The port reduces your risk of:
About one in three people have problems with implanted ports. Infections are the most common complication. Any infection raises the risk of a potentially life-threatening infection called sepsis.
Other potential complications include:
The skin covering the port doesn’t need any special care. If you aren’t receiving regular treatments, you or your provider will flush out the port and catheter once a month. Flushing lowers the risk of clots and blockages. It keeps the line open and ready for the next use.
After the incision site heals, you can resume most activities. You should check with your healthcare provider about participating in contact sports like football or high-impact activities.
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Implanted ports make it easier for you or your child to get prolonged treatments or blood draws for certain chronic illnesses. Once in place, a port is barely noticeable. It shouldn’t interfere with most daily activities. Your healthcare provider can discuss the pros and cons of using an implanted port.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/25/2021.
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