How this shirt can benefit you
- Protect your port
- Protect your dignity
- Feel more comfortable when going for treatment
- Easy to access your ports
- Saving time for undressing and getting dressed
How your port works
A port consists of a reservoir compartment (the portal) that has a silicone bubble for needle insertion (the septum), with an attached plastic tube (the catheter). The device is surgically inserted under the skin in the upper chest or in the arm and appears as a bump under the skin. It requires no special maintenance and is completely internal so swimming and bathing are not a problem. The catheter runs from the portal and is surgically inserted into a vein (usually the jugular vein or less optimally the subclavian vein). Ideally, the catheter terminates in the superior vena cava or the right atrium. This position allows infused agents to be spread throughout the body quickly and efficiently.
The septum is made of a special self-sealing silicone; it can be punctured hundreds of times before it weakens significantly. To administer treatment or to withdraw blood, a health care professional will first locate the port and disinfect the area, then access the port by puncturing the overlying skin with a Huber point needle. Due to its design, there is a very low infection risk, as the breach of skin integrity is never larger than the caliber of the needle. This gives it an advantage over indwelling lines such as the Hickman line. Negative pressure is created to withdraw blood into the vacuumized needle, to check for blood return and see if the port is functioning normally. Next, the port is flushed with a saline solution. Then, treatment will begin.
The implantation procedure itself is considered minor, and is typically performed with both local anaesthesia and moderate sedation. Patients often have post-procedure discomfort at the insertion site which is most often managed by administration of acetaminophen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen.
A port is most commonly inserted as an outpatient surgery procedure in a hospital or clinic by an interventional radiologist or surgeon, under moderate sedation. Implantation is increasingly performed by interventional radiologists due to advancements in techniques and their facile use of imaging technologies. When no longer needed, the port can be removed in the interventional radiology suite or an operating room.
Ports have many uses:
- To deliver chemotherapy to cancer patients who must undergo treatment frequently. Chemotherapy is often toxic, and can damage skin and muscle tissue, and therefore should not be delivered through these tissues. Ports provide a solution, delivering drugs quickly and efficiently through the entire body via the circulatory system.
- To deliver coagulation factors in patients with severe hemophilia.
- To withdraw (and/or return) blood to the body in patients who require frequent blood tests, and in hemodialysis patients.
- To deliver antibiotics to patients requiring them for a long time or frequently, such as those with cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis.
- Delivering medications to patients with immune disorders.
- For treating alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency with replacement therapy
- For delivering radiopaque contrast agents, which enhance contrast in CT imaging.
- To fill or withdraw fluid from the Lap-Band or Realize gastric bands used in Bariatric surgeries.
- To administer analgesics to patients with chronic pain, such as cancer patients and those with sickle-cell disease