Consider A New Mattress
If possible, it may be worth considering a new mattress. A mattress that sags or is uncomfortable may cause someone to move toward the middle of the bed during sleep or to toss and turn in an effort to get comfortable. Sleeping on the back can also be more difficult if the mattress is not supportive enough.
Using A Medicine Pump:
You may use a pump to get medicines and treatments. Caregivers will teach you how to use your pump. You may be taught to prepare and attach your medicines to the pump. Be sure the medicine tubing is not clamped or kinked. Let the liquid go in at the speed shown by your caregiver. Ask caregivers what to do when the alarm sounds, and how to care for the pump.
How Long Does It Take To Insert A Port And What Is The Recovery Like
It is a short procedure, and you can expect to be in the hospital for a couple of hours. During that time, you will receive a local anesthetic to your chest area.
For the rest of the day, avoid wearing tight bras or carrying a purse across your chest. Youll be told to relax at home for the day . You can eat and drink normally, but expect some mild pain.
After a few days you can shower or bathe, but only after the dressing has been removed. The stitches will dissolve over time, and the Steri-Strips will fall off on their own. Just watch for signs of infection and let your doctor know right away if you notice any:
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What Are Catheters And Ports
A catheter is a thin tube made of soft plastic that goes inside a vein. Your health care team uses the catheter to give treatment through that vein.
A portion of the catheter may stay outside your body so it is easy to insert the medication into the catheter. When you are not getting treatment, the catheter is clamped or capped to keep it closed. Some catheters split into 2 or 3 separate ends. These are double lumen or triple lumen catheters. This type of catheter allows you to receive more than 1 treatment at a time.
Sometimes, a catheter gets put completely under the skin. If so, it connects to a small plastic or metal disc called a port. A port also goes under the skin. You might see or feel a small lump at the side of the port. But you will not see the tip of the catheter.
After The Port Is Put In
You may have a small dressing to cover the wounds for a day or so after the procedure. The nursing team will teach you how to look after this. Sometimes a skin glue is used instead.
You may feel a bit sore and bruised for a few days after the port is put in. You can ask your doctor or nurse which painkillers you should take to help with this.
Straight after the port has been put in, and for a few days after, check for any redness, swelling, bleeding, bruising, pain or heat around the wounds. Tell your hospital doctor straight away if you have any of these. You could have an infection, which may need to be treated.
If the stitches are not dissolvable, they will be removed after about 7 to 10 days, when the wound heals.
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How Is An Implantable Port Removed
When you do not need the port any more, it will be taken out. A doctor or specialise nurse will do this for you. A local anaesthetic is used to numb the area, or sometimes a general anaesthetic is used.
The doctor or nurse will clean the skin over the site of your port with antiseptic. They will make a small incision over the site and remove the port and the catheter. They will gently pull the catheter out of the vein. The wound is then stitched and covered with a small dressing.
You may feel a bit sore and bruised after your port is removed. You can ask your doctor or nurse which painkillers you should take to help with this.
How The Port Is Put In
A small needle will be put into a vein in your arm or hand and you will have medicine to help you relax. Your nurse or doctor will inject a local anaesthetic into your skin to numb a few small areas on your chest and neck. You might feel some pressure on your chest or arm during the procedure, but you should not feel any pain.
2 small cuts will be made in your skin. The first is made to create a pocket under the skin for the port. It will be about 3 to 4cm long. There will be a smaller incision above this where the catheter is put into the vein. This incision is usually less than 2cm long.
If the port is being put into a vein in your chest, the incisions are made on your upper chest. If the port is being put into a vein in your arm, they will be on the inner side of your arm.
The port will be put under the skin. The catheter attached to the port will be tunnelled under your skin to the smaller incision, where it will be put into a vein in your chest. The incisions are then stitched up. You will have a chest x-ray to make sure the port is in the right place.
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What Are The Benefits Of Ports For Cancer Treatment
Ports can remain in place for weeks, months, or years. Your team can use a port to:
Reduce the number of needle sticks.
Give treatments that last longer than 1 day. The needle can stay in the port for several days.
Give more than 1 medication at a time through a double port.
Do blood tests and give chemotherapy the same day with 1 needle stick.
Recovery From Radiation Therapy
You cant see radiation-induced fibrosis, but you can feel it when you move your arm and find that your motion is restricted.
Radiation-induced fibrosis can cause pain, tightness, and altered sensation, even months or years after your radiation treatments end. Doctors will often recommend a combination of therapeutic approaches to improve strength and mobility.
Does It Need To Be Cleaned
Yes, it does. During your chemo session, after your IV is connected, the nurse will flush out the port lines before administering the chemo drugs. This is also the last thing that the nurse does after administering your chemo, before removing the IV.
If your port hasnt been accessed in about a month, you have to have it flushed out. This can be done at your local hospital blood lab department and will only take a few minutes. This will help prevent blood clotting, infection, and other complications.
Accessing Your Implanted Port
When you need IV fluids or medication, your nurse will place a needle through the access point on your implanted port. This is called accessing your port . The fluid or medication will move from your implanted port through the catheter and into your bloodstream.
Dont let anyone who isnt trained in port access to access your port.
Figure 4. Accessing your port
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When Should I Call My Health Care Team
Contact your health care team right away if:
The area around the catheter or port becomes red, swollen, painful, bruised, or warm.
Your arm on the same side as the catheter becomes swollen.
There is a lot of bleeding around the catheter or port.
You get a fever.
Any fluids leak out of the catheter.
You have shortness of breath or dizziness.
The catheter tube outside your body gets longer.
You cannot flush the catheter or port with liquid and it seems blocked. Never force fluid into the catheter.
You experience any symptoms or problems your cancer care team advised you that you should let them know about right away.
What Is A Port And Why Would You Want One
A port is a plastic disc that is placed underneath your skin, usually above your breast or below the collarbone, and is used to intravenously feed medication directly into a large vein and into the heart. It can also be used to withdraw blood as well.
If you are in treatment, you will need to have your veins accessed frequently. A port is used to avoid poking your arm with needles numerous times and for protecting small veins. It is removed after therapy and leaves a small scar behind.
Although a port may be recommended, getting one is a decision you need to make with your doctor. There are many factors to consider including cost, type, and schedule of treatment, as well as other existing medical conditions you may have.
It can also be inserted in your upper arm, but this is something you often have to advocate for in Canada, as it is not the standard placement.
Make sure you do what you feel is right for you, and understand the risks and benefits of getting a port.
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Types Of Implanted Ports
All implanted ports are made up of 2 parts: the port with a septum and a catheter .
- The port is the starting point of fluid flow through the catheter. It sits under your skin and has a raised center called a septum. The septum is made from a self-sealing rubber material. This is the part of the port where needles will be placed. This is also called the access point.
- The catheter is a small, plastic, flexible tube. One end of the catheter is connected to the port, and the other end sits in a large vein near your heart.
Figure 2. Parts of your port
There are 2 types of implanted ports:
- A single lumen port is a port with 1 access point . Most people will get a single lumen port.
- A double lumen port is a port with 2 access points . You can put a needle in each access point. Double lumen ports are used for people that regularly need more than 1 point of access.
Figure 3. Single and double lumen ports
Most implanted ports will be the size of a nickel or a quarter. They can be circular, oval, or triangle shaped. Your doctor will choose the one thats best for you and your treatments. Your port may be called a BardPort®, a Mediport®, a PowerPort®, or a Port-A-Cath®.
Most implanted ports are made to be used during imaging tests, such as computed tomography scans or magnetic resonance imaging , to allow for high speed injections of contrast. These implanted ports are called power-injectable ports.
What Is An Implantable Port
An implantable port is a catheter with a small reservoir attached to it. It can be used to give chemotherapy or medicine into your vein, or to take blood. Implantable ports are sometimes called portacaths or subcutaneous ports.
The catheter is a thin, soft, flexible tube made of silicone. It is usually put in under the skin of your chest or sometimes in your arm. One end of the tube goes into a large vein just above your heart. The other end connects to the port.
The port is a small disc that goes under the skin on your upper chest or arm. You will be able to see and feel a small bump on your skin where the port is.
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What To Do About Chemo Port Discomfort
After doctors insert a chemo port, it is fairly normal to experience some discomfort. A person will likely experience some swelling, inflammation, and tenderness. Bruising may also occur, which can take longer to go away.
It is important to avoid any clothing or items that create pressure or friction over the chest during the first 1â2 days after the procedure. Examples include:
- tight clothing, such as bras
- cross-body bags or straps
People also should not lift heavy objects or participate in strenuous exercise until the incision heals, which takes about 1 week. A doctor can advise on when it is okay to start exercising again.
For tight clothes and straps that are unavoidable, such as seatbelts, people can cushion them with pillows or padding.
Some mild discomfort is normal for those with chemo ports. However, it is important to get medical help immediately if a person develops:
- a fever
- swelling or discoloration long after the initial procedure
- excessive pain, especially without a clear cause
- fluid or pus around the port site
- chest pain
How Are Catheters And Ports Removed
Your doctor or nurse will take out or your catheter or port when you no longer need it.
If you have a PICC line, the doctor or nurse will gently pull the tube until it feels loose. Then they will remove it. This does not usually hurt and you do not normally need anesthesia.
If you have a port or neck or chest catheter, your doctor or radiologist will make a small cut in the skin. Then they will gently remove the port or catheter. You may need local anesthesia or conscious sedation.
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Answers From The Community
I have one and it rally gives me no problem. Been in since January of last year. Since getting it, I go thyroid cancer and had a neck dissection on the same side as the port placement. Had a crap load of blood tests and a CT with contrast so it was accessed again this week. Turns out still being numb from the neck surgery has it’s positives. Didn’t feel the needle.
With all that being said, I suspect that they placed yours adjacent to some of the nerves in your neck causing you the grief. Not sure how long you have had it in, but you may want to consult with your oncologist about having a new one out in with better care avoiding the sensitive spots.
I went to a teaching hospital and I’m pretty sure that a resident did mine as most are done by surgical residents. My surgeon hit my artery instead of the vein and I can only imagine the fun in the OR has I looked like Old Faithful.
How To Sleep On The Side Of The Body
Although it is preferable for people with a chemo port to sleep on their back, side sleeping is a possibility. However, side sleepers will need to consider a few things once their chemo port is in place.
Immediately after the procedure, the skin will be sensitive and may hurt. It is advisable to avoid any unnecessary contact or pressure. Due to this, a person will need to sleep on their back until the area heals.
After the skin heals, it is still not a good idea to apply pressure to the area, as doing so can lead to irritation or discomfort. To sleep on the side without applying pressure to the chest, people can try:
- using body pillows to support their body and prevent them from rolling onto their front
- placing a pillow between the knees
- placing large pillows on one side of the bed to discourage sleeping on the side of the body with the chemo port
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Chemotherapy Ports Benefits And Risks
Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
If your healthcare provider has recommended a port for chemotherapy, you may wonder what this means. What exactly is a port, and what are the pros and cons of a port when compared with other methods of access, such as an intravenous line or a PICC line?
Let’s take a look at what having a port involves, and some ways you may be able to prevent complications such as infection or obstruction of the port.
Leaks Skin Damage Inability To Repair Port
In a study 2006 by Inaba Yoshitaka et al in the Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology, several problems can result from the use of ports in treatment for colon cancer. In some cases, a port-related problem made therapy continuation problematic. Other problems noted related to port use included: damage to the catheter used with the port, leaks at the puncture site for the port, skin damage, likely infection, and an inability to repair a damaged port. The study was conducted at the Aichi Cancer Center Hospital, Naguya, Japan.
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I Was Also Advised Not To Do Upper Body Exercises
I have always done yoga that involves a lot of positions on my head and a lot of arm flexibility work that really twists the upper torso. I was advised by another woman at the gym I went to who had a port that I needed to really back off of some of that stuff or risk flipping my port. I heeded that advise and haven’t had any trouble. Does seem like you could do simple bicep crunches with weights without jiggling your port if you want to work your arms. And I do tricep presses in my pool, It’s TWISTING the upper body I try to avoid I think that’s the kep anyway.
I’ve had my Power Port for around 2 years now with no trouble. But I do notice that if I’m lazy and lounge around in my PJs half the day with no bra on, that I get pain around my port. As long as I wear a supportive bra, it never bothers me. OH: except for the passenger side seat belt that rides directly on my port if I don’t remember to tuck it under my arm pit!