If you need frequent intravenous (IV) medicines or blood draws or both your healthcare provider may order a port for you. A port is a small medical device that allows providers easy, reliable access to administer medicine to a patient directly into the veins. A port is a small medical device that is inserted beneath the skin usually in the upper chest. It sits just below the collar bone. It is about 1/2" thick and about the size of a quarter. You can feel its raised center under your skin. A flexible piece of tubing (catheter) is connected to it. The catheter is tunneled under the skin to an area near the neck where it enters a vein.

The center of the port is made of a tough, self-sealing, rubber-like material that can be punctured through the chest skin with a special needle many times. After each puncture, it will reseal instantly.

It is commonly inserted as a day surgery procedure in a hospital or in a clinic by a surgeon. Many patients prefer the outpatient setting because the cost is generally less than in a hospital setting.

Once ready for the port placement, Dr. Heaton will inject a local anesthetic under your skin in the chest area. You will only feel it for a few seconds and then the skin will be numb.

Under the guidance of fluoroscopy (real-time x-ray images viewed on a monitor), Dr. Heaton will insert a small tube (called a catheter) into the vein in your neck or under the collar bone. A small pocket, into which the port will be placed is formed under your chest skin approximately 2-3 inches below your collarbone. After that, the tubing is connected to the port is tunneled under the chest skin so that it enters the neck or subclavian vein (under the collar bone).

When no longer needed, the port can be removed in the hospital or in the outpatient setting in a similar fashion.