What is a port-a-cath?
A port-a-cath is an implantable medical device shaped like a thin disc. It’s made of plastic and is about the size of a quarter. Dr. Gerges implants your port-a-cath above your breast or below your collarbone, just under your skin. It feeds medication intravenously through a large vein, directly into your heart.
What is port-a-cath placement?
Port-a-cath placement is a quick, outpatient procedure. If you need dialysis or are receiving cancer treatment, frequent blood transfusions and intravenous medications are necessary. A port-a-cath prevents the need for dozens of needle pricks, ensuring a more comfortable care experience.
Following the completion of treatment, Dr. Gerges removes your port-a-cath. Removal is quick and pain-free, just like installation.
How long does port-a-cath placement take?
Port-a-cath placement typically takes two or three hours.
Prior to implantation, Dr. Gerges administers a local anesthetic that numbs your chest. Once the anesthesia sets in, he makes a small incision above your breast or below your collarbone and carefully inserts the port beneath your skin. Then he connects a thin tube (catheter) from the port to a vein that feeds your heart.
Once the port and catheter are in place, he carefully stitches up the incision. Afterward, you wait in a recovery room while the anesthesia wears off.
What is recovery like following port-a-cath placement?
Port-a-cath placement is safe and usually well-tolerated. In the first few days following your procedure, it’s normal to experience some mild pain and bruising. To avoid irritation, don’t wear tight clothing or purses or backpacks that strap across your chest.
Most people feel back to normal within a few days, but if you experience signs of infection like chest pain, fever, or fluid around the incision, contact I-Vascular Center of El Paso right away at 915-855-6508.
How do I take care of my port-a-cath?
For your port-a-cath to properly function, you need to clean it regularly. Following each blood transfusion or draw, Dr. Gerges flushes out the port lines to lower your risk of infection. Regularly cleaning the port-a-cath also prevents blood clotting and other potential complications.