• Ivy's Avatar

    Medi-Port insertion and removal

    Asked by Ivy on Saturday, April 21, 2012

    Medi-Port insertion and removal

    I would appreciate knowing the experience of chemotherapy patients who have had Medi-Ports implanted prior to treatment. Has insertion gone smoothly? What is the degree of discomfort/pain? How long does it take to heal well enough for chemotherapy to proceed? Similarly, when chemotherapy is finished (Taxol/Carboplatin, administered once every 3 weeks), how much time must pass before removal of Medi-Port, and again, what are likely results--any side effects, discomfort, time for healing?

    Thanks, everyone.

    27 Answers from the Community

    27 answers
    • abrub's Avatar

      When my mediport was placed, I was supposed to start chemo the next day. Usually, the discomfort is minimal, but I had a rare complication, where I had to have my port replaced the next day. Generally, tylenol is all that is needed, tho you feel like you've been hit in the chest with a bat.

      Ask about Emla cream to gob on over your port prior to your chemo treatments. That way, you don't feel the needle going in. For some reason, most drs don't think to order it for you; everyone I know heard about it from another cancer patient. You may not be able to use it the first time, as your incision from the placement will need to heal, but a week or so after the port is placed, you can use Emla.

      Drs differ in how long they want you to keep your port after completing chemo. I had mine out relatively soon; I know others who kept theirs for a year or more post-chemo. Removal is about the same as placement - you are sore, but it is not a big deal. I had my placement and removal done with just local anesthetic, and was fine with that.

      almost 9 years ago
    • Cindy's Avatar

      Mine was implanted during out-patient surgery under general anesthesia. I had my first chemo treatment (also Taxol/Carboplatin once every 3 weeks) 9 days after my port was implanted. My doctor said that it was ready for use right after the surgery but I waited until mine healed first. I had a bad rash/itching for several days after they inserted my port caused by an allergic reaction to the antimicrobial substance they used to clean my skin (Hibiclens). I agree "being hit in the chest with a bat" does fit the discomfort level. It was uncomfortable lying down on it but got better over time. Mine was removed shortly after I had a PET/CT scan to determine the success of the chemotherapy about a month after my last chemo treatment. The removal was a lot easier for me and quicker. It was done at my doctor's office with local anesthetic. It was a relief to have it removed and the healing was much quicker.

      almost 9 years ago
    • bobhess' Avatar

      My port was inserted in an outpatient type of environment, by a radiologist. After the procedure I was taken to the cancer center and received my first chemo treatment. The pain for myself was very minimal and for myself no need for any type of pain meds. I've had my port for over a year now and really have no problems. Hope yours goes as well.

      almost 9 years ago
    • RuthAnne's Avatar

      I have a Power-Port, which I assume is a brand name for a medi-port. I underwent the procedure in the morning under 'twilight' anesthesia, and received my treatment through the port on the same day. Discomfort (versus pain) was minimal, and although it took a little while to get used to it being there, I think it was well worth it and makes treatments so much easier. As I'm stage IV, I don't anticipate having it removed, but I've heard that that procedure is really easy and uncomplicated.

      Best of luck to you.

      almost 9 years ago
    • ttisme's Avatar

      I had my medi-port implanted and received treatment a week later..accessing in the beginning "hurt" now, just a deep breathe and the poke and its done. I too had and itchy, this don't belong feeling for weeks after, and still do if I get sun on my chest. But after I figured out that laying on my right side without a pillow shoved tight to my chest between my boobs, will cause you to pinch the port and wake you up in a hurry its all good.

      I personally am not brave enough to have something implanted under anesthesia, removed in the office. I have been heroic enough through this journey. Knock me out, take it out, wake me up!

      Oh and if you are around small children, they can zoom in for a perfect hit, when ever they are on the side of the port.

      almost 9 years ago
    • TomLand's Avatar

      I had a port installed and it was accessed the next day. The installation was an out-patient procedure. I have had 19 treatments through it without problem. I would not call it painful but it does remind me it is there sometimes. I am changing treatments to a pill format but plan to keep the port in place in case it is needed.

      There is a difference between ports. If I understand properly the power port allows passage of larger larger larger of fluids. I think it is the PET scans that requires pumping in fluids quickly and my port will not handle it. As I understood it the power port would have allowed it. Knowing that would have saved me a lot of poking and probing pain. I strongly suggest you talk with the Doc about what choice you have.

      almost 9 years ago
    • bccage's Avatar

      I had no reaction when port implanted...it has been great not having to find a vain etc.....

      almost 9 years ago
    • Bashiemn's Avatar

      Hi Ivy -
      I don't have a port yet - I am getting mine in 1 1/2 weeks before my 6th round of chemo. I've been getting IV's for almost 4 months now for my chemo sessions which are on a 3 week cycle. I have had times where I have had multiple attempts to access the vein - once for my CT scan it took them 4 tries to get a good vein. My arms have been pin cushions, bruised and battered - I don't mind the needle pokes, but once one of the chemo drugs, Etoposide, leaked into the tissue. Luckily it's just an irritant and cause redness and swelling. I have been switched to Adriamycin, and decided that the risk of leakage is too great and the damage it will cause is terrible - total tissue damage, down to the bone.

      So against my better judgement I am getting a port. I have heard great things about it, and I have known of a bad experience. Sometimes one bad experience trumps all the good.

      When I schedule mine, I was told that some people get it inserted the same day that they have chemo. My clinic staff didn't recommend it, saying that it would be a lot to handle for one day - but it is doable. I'm having chemo 2 days later.

      My paperwork says no driving for 24 hours, watch for fevers of 100.5 or higher, watch for redness and swelling, etc. The types of things you would watch for anyways.

      I have heard of people who get it removed right away and others who keep it a while. The key with keeping it after chemo is that you need to remember to get it flushed every so often. Oh and never ever let someone access it if they don't know what they are doing. This can cause infection. Not all medical facilities/staff are trained in proper access of a ports.

      Good luck to both of us!

      almost 9 years ago
    • Lirasgirl33's Avatar

      I love my port. :) Not being a fan of needles and all. Day of procedure only pain felt was when they poked me with IV needle and for local anesthesia. After the procedure it just feels a little weird cause you have this thing in your chest...lol...you'll get used to it. I would always joke around and call it my alien baby. :D At night when sleeping it was a bit uncomfortable laying on my side for the first few weeks. I did take Tylenol once or twice since the area surrounding the port was a little sore. The doc told me not to shower for a few days or get the area wet. I was however able to use my port 4 days later for chemo. Yay! No more IV needles. The nurse will clean the port area and spray it with numbing spray...then they can get blood out, and IV fluids in. :) As far as when they'll remove the port, I guess it all depends on your treatment plan. It would be best to ask your doc on that one. :)

      almost 9 years ago
    • sadie's Avatar

      I had a Power-Port inserted under a "twilight sedation" with the catheter accessing the sub-clavian vein- my veins are small and during his attempt to access the vein he caused a pneumo-thorax which put me in the hospital for 6 days with a chest tube- not a pleasant experience. My surgeon had explained beforehand that this was a risk but said he had had this happen only a few times out of hundreds of procedures- I happened to be the unlucky one.Then when my first chemo was attempted the port would not work- a contrast study revealed that the end of the catheter was in the wrong place. So the next morning I went into the cath lab at the hospital where a different surgeon inserted a new port accessing the jugular vein, using fluoroscopy to guide the catheter. Apparently there is minimal risk of pneumothorax with this newer technique- it was done with a local anesthetic and very light sedation. I was home by lunchtime and had very littlle discomfort. The next day I went in for my first chemo and it worked perfectly. My doctor prescribed lidocaine cream to numb it first so I can't feel a thing when they insert the needle. This may be more than you want to know but I think you should be aware that there are risks with the insertion and there is more than one technique of insertion. My doctors have all told me that what I experienced is very rare.

      almost 9 years ago
    • Ivy's Avatar

      Thank you all for your responses. You have been very thoughtful and generous to include so much detail. I'm finding that the doctors gloss over such information, and knowing that makes me trust them less. Now I'm prepared to get enough info out of my doctor on Monday that perhaps this event will be without a hitch. I hope all is going well for each of you. This journey through "Cancerville" takes everything that each of us can handle.

      almost 9 years ago
    • Keephopealive's Avatar

      I never had a port but did have a pic...a tube put in through my arm. It didn't cause any trouble but did not like having to go every week for a dressing change, no swimming, nuisance showering. This time I am trying to avoid any pic or port. only 5 treatments to go and so far my veins are doing well. This way, when I walk out of chemo, no reminders....I am free for 3 weeks.

      almost 9 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar

      I had a love-hate relationship with my PowerPort. I am very happy that I had it, however. Every time I sat in chemo and saw other people being poked with needles in their arm veins, it made me feel better. I had to learn how to sleep on my other side since I felt an uncomfortable tugging in my neck from the catheter.

      My insertion was a bit more complicated due to what my surgeon called my funky anatomy. Most people told me they had no complications and were just sore for a few days. I am glad, however, that I didn't have to go to work for a few days because I was pretty sore and bruised.

      Because of the difficulty with the insertion, I was very nervous about the removal, which was done in the surgeon's office (vs. insertion done at surgical center). The most pain was from the novocaine and the entire procedure took perhaps 20 minutes. No complications and I never took anything stronger than a Tylenol.

      How long you will need to keep the port in will depend on your type of cancer and diagnosis. My oncologist considered me cancer-free following my PET scan and I had it out immediately after that. Other people with cancers that have a higher likelihood of recurring are told to keep it in for a certain amount of time.

      I had asked about the Emla cream and the nurses told me I wouldn't need it and they were right. I felt the pinch of the needle going into the port, but it didn't have that lingering sting of an IV needle. I hated the port flush - nasty "taste."

      I must admit, however, that as much as I didn't like my port, I think it's a great invention!

      almost 9 years ago
    • Ivy's Avatar

      Thanks again to all of you. I'm scheduled for implantation at the end of this week. Will report on it when done with this procedure.

      almost 9 years ago
    • caligirl73's Avatar

      I just had my medi-port put in four days ago and it hurt like XXX. I could not move my neck or shoulder and had three incision. A day later I start seeing red bumps develop on my shoulders and around the port and my breast. i figures I was having a allergic reaction. After about fours days pain got better, but was still sore

      over 8 years ago
    • corpus69cougar's Avatar

      Power port was inserted under anesthesia. Yes, the Elma cream is a God send. But would recommend putting a plastic baggy over it to help it absorb into the skin and not your clothes. This really seemed to help.

      over 8 years ago
    • Happyjack's Avatar

      I had a power port inserted by an interventional radiologist 5 days before my first chemo under conscience sedation. After the local wore off I was pretty sore; took 2 Vicodin and had no pain. At each of my chemo treatments, I was advised to take a deep breath and then they would insert the IV needle. I didn't need anything for pain, although it was offered, as I felt no pain with the needle insertions. I'm finished with chemo now and have been told to keep port in place for 6 months. Will need to get it flushed every 4 to 6 weeks though. I asked my oncologist if the removal was easier than the insertion and she said it usually is. Have also been told by my oncologist that another one can be inserted in the same area if needed after the first one is removed. Hope and pray that won't be necessary!

      over 8 years ago
    • bobbik4's Avatar

      My husband had a power port put in 2 yrs ago for chemo due to colon cancer. He had no issues the first chemo treatment but everyone after that he would get stuck 4 or 5 times. Finally they checked it out and found it had turned. They removed it and replaced it and he had no issues the rest of the time. After about a year he had it removed. Unfortunately his cancer metastisized to his liver and they have now inserted another port. This one has given him trouble from the beginning. He has had two treatments and both times they have had to use ultrpleas to break up the clot at the end of the catheter. They just did a flouroscopy and found out that the port has developed a myeline sheath and it has to be replaced. We are now waiting for the surgery. He has never had any trouble after the surgeries and no pain at all. The troubles he has had have all been more due to bodily occurences rather than any fault of the port itself. Hope this helps.

      about 8 years ago
    • Igor's Avatar

      Had my port put in about 2 years ago. Very little pain after surgery and no problems since then. I don't even notice it unless I see the bump in the mirror or feel it when bathing. I normally used the cream prior to needle insertion but sometimes I forgot and the needle XXX is just a momentary pain. I am having it removed as soon as the surgeon sets up my appointment. Been in remission for a year and a half.

      almost 8 years ago
    • coachbob692's Avatar

      hello ivy I have stage 4 non hodgkins lymphoma very agressive. power port was put in on my first 5 day visit(of 6) for chemo.also get it 1 day prior to hosp. stay. got a rash on my port covering skin. benedryl gel seemed to help still chemo doc has me going for a nurses appt.8;30am not sure what is going on

      over 7 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar


      I hope you are doing well. Your question inspired us to put together some content that summarizes people's thoughts on this. Below are links to the articles.

      Blog Article

      Guide to Understanding Chemo Ports

      over 7 years ago
    • Judt1940's Avatar

      Due to have port put in Oct 1. Serious carcinoma uterine. Where is the port put? Start chemo on the 8th.

      over 7 years ago
    • Sandie's Avatar

      I had the Power Port inserted in the morning, and proceeded to radiation for a session and then to chemo after that. There was no problem with the port, but I felt shortness of breath. I went through the day....ended up not being able to walk from the bed to the bathroom.....Found out....when my port was put in, that my right lung had 30% deflated. I went to the hospital, was admitted, and they had to insert a chest tube, where I was wide awake, and was given nothing for pain. Im not sure if this is something that happens often when getting a power port, maybe I was one on the unlucky ones.....But as far as my port goes......Its given me no problems...Once in awhile it will tweak......and when I get it flushed I have to hold my arm up....I guess this also can be common......

      about 7 years ago
    • BadBabs' Avatar

      How frequent are chemo sessions usually scheduled? (1x week? 1x month?) For how long do most ppl have to undergo chemo for? (2 months? 6 months? a year? longer?)

      almost 7 years ago
    • gato's Avatar

      it all depends on the type of cancer you are dealing with and on the oncologistreferances.
      I got mine, every 21 days full dose. However, an oncologost who is a family member, told me he prefers to administer smaller doses, every 7 to 10 days.

      almost 7 years ago
    • gato's Avatar

      Sorry for typo: I meant to say: it depends on the oncologist preferances.
      They usually administer 6-8 cycles, every 3 weeks.
      Good luck to you

      almost 7 years ago
    • karemoore's Avatar

      I had my port placed out patient surgery 5 days ago. Was very sore as the numbing from placement wore off. The odd thing for me is that the two incision sites are no longer tender, however, the skin over the port is very tender still. I am scheduled for my first chemo treatment in 6 days, and while I am nervous, I am very glad to not have to endure the pain of multiple IV sticks. Good luck.

      over 6 years ago

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