All you need to know about chemo ports

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All you need to know about chemo ports

Chemotherapy can mean getting many needle pricks. Chemo medication? Poke. IV fluids? Poke. Blood sample? Poke. Dye injection for a CT/MRI/PET scan? Poke Antibiotics? Poke.. All those needle pricks can take a toll on your veins. Apart from the pain and difficulty in getting good veins for placing an IV needle, there is a risk of extravasation of fluids/medication into the surrounding tissues which can take a long time to heal and occasionally, damage to the surrounding muscles and skin.

What exactly is a Chemo Port?

A chemo port has two parts: the port and the catheter. (as shown in the pic)

The port is a small plastic or metal disc (about 3 cm in diameter). At its centre is  a rubber piece called the access site which holds the needle in place when you receive treatment, medication, or have blood drawn.

A catheter, or thin tube, connects the port to a large vein in your body. The chemo port sits underneath your skin, just below your collarbone.

A chemo port gives health care workers one-stop access to your veins. The chemo nurse feels for the port underneath the skin and inserts a small needle into it through which medication flows into your blood. It offers all the benefits of treatment without the discomfort, and it reduces your risk of infection and skin irritation. 

With the chemo port in place, your hands are free to be used (can read a book/use the mobile or drink coffee, etc.). A port can be used to provide treatments that span several days.

What Happens When You Get a Chemo Port ?

Chemo port implantation is a day care procedure, meaning that you get discharged after the procedure. It usually takes 30-45 minutes. In the Operation theatre, you will get a local anaesthetic to numb your neck and chest areas where your surgeon will make cuts and insert the port. You will be conscious of what is going on. A mild sedative maybe given to make you relax. In certain patients who are anxious and in children, this procedure is done under general anaesthesia.

You might notice swelling, soreness, or bruising in the area around your port after the procedure. To help it heal, don’t wear anything tight in that area and don’t lift anything heavy for a week.

Will I Be Able to Feel My Chemo Port?

Yes. The chemo port raises your skin about a half-inch in your chest. It feels like a small round or triangle-shaped bump.

What are the possible complications of a chemo port?

  • Infections (Rarely, this might require removal of the port)
  • Blockage of the port.
  • Extrusion: If there is partial extrusion, it can be sutured back in place.
  • Mal-positioning: If the implanted port gets dislodged from its original point, it makes it difficult for your doctor to get proper access for chemotherapy procedure.
  • Internal bleeding: There can be a possibility of bleeding from your blood vessels (very rare)
  • Pneumothorax (Air leakage from lungs) – very rare 

Caring for a Chemo Port

After your port is implanted and the area has healed, you can return to regular tasks and exercise, including swimming. Avoid contact sports that might damage your port.

If you don’t use your port for 4 weeks, it needs to be flushed. Only a health care worker can do this. Flushing your port with saline ensures blood or medicine doesn’t clog it up and it stays patent.

Call your doctor if you have pain, swelling, or bruising at your port’s site; if pus or fluid is coming out of the opening in your skin where the port goes; or if that area looks irritated or feels tender or hot.

How Long Do I Need My Port?

Whether you use it regularly or not, your port can stay put for weeks, months, or years. When you don’t need it anymore, your doctor can remove it during an outpatient procedure.

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For appointments, please call or WhatsApp this phone number or fill out the contact form.

95538 60804


Medicover Hospital, MVP, Visakhapatnam.

Timings: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm


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(M.Ch and D.N.B Surgical Oncology) Surgical Oncologist, Minimally invasive (Robotic and Laparoscopic) Surgeon at Medicover Hospital, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh


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