Portacath surgery is necessary to insert a portacath and to remove it. Like all surgeries, there are risks, but they are not common. It can stay inserted for up to 5 years with proper maintenance. When it is time for it to be removed, it will require another surgical procedure. There are many portacath benefits to those in treatment for a variety of ailments. There are some side affects and risks to having one, but they can be managed. If there are complications, surgery to remove it may need to be done.

Understanding The Basics

The portacath surgery is a short outpatient surgery. Usually the patient will just receive a local anesthetic and medication to help with relaxing for the surgery. Blood test will be done to rule out anemia and determine the blood’s clotting abilities. The following is commonly required before the surgery:

  • No eating before the surgery
  • Only clear liquids before surgery
  • Arriving at the hospital a half hour or more before surgery
  • Pre-surgery tests
  • Restriction of any medication or anything that can interfere with blood clotting
  • Restriction of supplements

Afterwards, there is a short recovery time. There may be some regional soreness and slight grogginess depending on what medication was administered during the procedure.

When there is portacath surgery to insert the device, there may be some anxiety. This can be relived by talking with your doctor. Talking with others who currently have one or had one in the past can be helpful in relieving concerns. You can contact them through your doctor, online forums, or through support groups to find out more about the portacath insertion and removal.

Insertion and Removal Surgery

The procedure to insert a portacath lasts from 30 minutes to an hour. The patient is prepped for the  surgery that takes place on an X-ray table. To insert the portacath, there is a small incision made in the chest and the catheter will go into one incision to be inserted in a vein. The other end will then go under the skin and into the other incision where it is connected to the port. The port is inserted in a pocket in the muscle. The may be pressure felt during the procedure, but no pain after the initial administration of a local anesthetic. The surgery to remove the portacath is similar to the insertion, except the incisions will be made to remove the device.

Within approximately 24 hours, normal activities will be able to be resumed. There are some risks to having a portacath and to having the outpatient surgery, but they are uncommon.

The Possible Risks

There are common surgery risks that include infection, soreness, and reaction to the medication administered during the procedure. Having a portacath may increase the risk of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) because biofilms of bacteria may adhere to the plastics in the device. When this occurs, the device will need to be removed and replaced. If the area was not kept clean or contaminated equipment is used, there is an additional risk of infection occurring. There may be bleeding from the incision, soreness, muscle discomfort, bruising, vein damage, or redness. Building up your immune system before your surgery will lower the risks of infection.

The portacath surgery is fairly simple and will greatly reduce the discomfort of having medical procedures that include numerous needle sticks.