Caring for Your Implanted Port for Pediatric Patients

This information will help you prepare and care for your implanted port. For the rest of this resource, our use of the word “you” and “your” refers to you or your child.

An implanted port (also known as a mediport, Port-A-Cath® or PowerPort®) is the size of a nickel or a quarter and can be circular, oblong, or triangle shaped (see Figure 1). There are many different implanted ports available. Your doctor will choose the one that is best for you.

Figure 1: Examples of implanted ports

An implanted port is made up of 2 parts: the port and a catheter. The catheter is a small plastic flexible tube which is connected to the port. The tip of the catheter sits in a large vein near your heart. The port sits under your skin and has a raised center (septum) made from a rubber material. A special needle is inserted through the septum to deliver fluids. The fluid moves from the port through the catheter and into your bloodstream.

Figure 2: Implanted port

The port usually raises your skin about ½ an inch. You will be able to feel the implanted port through your skin (see Figure 2).

Figure 3: Accessing a port

An implanted port can be used to give:

  • Fluids
  • Chemotherapy
  • Medicine
  • Blood transfusions
  • Intravenous (IV) nutrition

The advantages of having an implanted port are

  • You won’t need as many needle sticks.
  • It can stay in your body as long as a few years and be removed when it is no longer needed.

A specially trained nurse can put a needle into your port through your skin. This is called “accessing” your port (see Figure 3). Do not allow someone to access your port who is not familiar and trained in port access.

Before Your Procedure

10 days before your procedure

  • Stop taking aspirin, medications that contain aspirin, and vitamin E. These medications can cause bleeding. Ask for the fact card called Common Medicines Containing Aspirin and Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Products if you have questions.
  • If you are taking any other medication ask the doctor who prescribed the medication if you should stop taking your medication before your surgery.
  • You will meet with the pediatric surgery team prior to your procedure to learn more about your new port.
  • Ask your doctor what to do if you take the following:
    • Blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin®), clopidogrel (Plavix®), or enoxaprin (Lovenox®).
    • Medicine for diabetes such as insulin.

1 day before your procedure

A nurse or Session Assistant will call you 1 business day before your surgery. He or she will tell you what time you should arrive at the hospital for your procedure. If you are scheduled for your procedure on a Monday you will be called on Friday. If you do not receive a call by 4:00 pm, please call 212-639-5948.

Use this area to write in information when you are called:

Date __________ Time __________

  • Pediatric Day Hospital (PDH)
    1275 York Avenue (Between 67th and 68th Streets); B elevator to 9th floor
  • Presurgical Center (PSC)
    1275 York Avenue (Between 67th and 68th Streets); B elevator to 6th floor
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The Day Of Your Procedure

  • Unless told otherwise, do not eat any solid food or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure.
  • If you take any medications in the morning discuss with your provider which medication you should take and which you should hold until after surgery.
  • Your doctor or nurse practitioner may have told you to take certain medications the morning of your procedure. If so, list them below. Take only these medications with a small sip of water the morning of your procedure.

Write down which medications you should take the morning of your procedure

Things to remember

  • You may shower
  • Do not put on any lotion, cream, powder, deodorant, makeup, powder, or perfume.
  • Do not wear any metal objects. Remove jewelry, including body piercings. The equipment used during your procedure can cause burns if they touch metal.
  • Leave valuables, such as credit cards, jewelry, or checkbooks at home.
  • Before you are taken into the operating room, you will need to remove your hearing aids, dentures, prosthetic device(s), wig, and religious articles such as a rosary

What to bring

  • If you wear contact lenses, wear your glasses instead. Remember to bring a case for them.
  • Your Health Care Proxy form if you have completed one.
  • Your medication.
  • This guide.

Where to park

Parking at MSK is available in the garage on East 66th Street between York and First Avenues. To reach the garage, enter East 66th Street from York Avenue. The garage is located about a quarter of a block in from York Avenue, on the right-hand (north) side of the street. There is a tunnel that goes from the garage into the hospital. For questions about prices, call 212-639-2338. There are also commercial garages nearby on East 69th Street between First and Second Avenues and on East 65th Street between First and Second Avenues.

What to expect

Once you arrive at the hospital, doctors, nurses, and other staff members will ask you to state and spell your name and date of birth many times. This is for your safety. Patients with the same or similar names may be having procedures on the same day.

A nurse will meet with you before your procedure. Tell him or her the dose of any medications you took after midnight and the time you took them.

You will be given a hospital gown, robe, and non-skid socks.

An IV line will be started. You will receive medication through the IV line to control pain and anxiety. Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and oxygen levels will be monitored during your procedure.

Once you are under anesthesia, a small incision (surgical cut) will be made on your chest, under your collar bone. This area will also be numbed with local anesthetic. The catheter will be inserted and threaded into your vein. The doctor will make a pocket under your skin, where the port is placed. This pocket will be stitched closed from the inside out.

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After Your Procedure

What to expect

When you wake up after your procedure, you will be in the PACU. Your nurse will continue to monitor your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. Once you are fully awake, your nurse will give you a drink and a light snack. He or she will remove your IV line.

If your port will be used the day of your procedure, an access needle will be in the port covered by a dressing. There will also be a small dressing over incision.

You may have some discomfort at your incision site for the first 24 to 48 hours. You will be prescribed pain medication for discomfort. Use the medication as instructed.

Your nurse will explain your discharge instructions you before you go home. When you leave the hospital you should wear clothing that is loose and comfortable. If you will be traveling by car, place a small pillow or towel to between the seat belt and your incision if the seatbelt is on the same side of your body as your new port.

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At Home

Caring for your incisions

A bandage will cover a small incision on your chest. This bandage can be removed 48 hours after your procedure. You may have Steri-Strips® (adhesive tape) or Dermabound® which is topical skin glue under your bandage. These are used to help hold the incision together and to promote healing. They should be left in place until they peel off on their own. This should happen about 2 weeks after your procedure.

The stitches are under the skin and will dissolve on their own. This may take several weeks.

Caring for your port

A nurse will help you learn how to care for your port. You may have a family member or friend learn with you.

Your port will need to be flushed every 4 weeks when it’s not in use. This is to keep the line from becoming clogged. An MSKCC nurse will flush your port.

Bathing and showering

24 hours after your procedure

  • Keep your bandage dry. You may take a sponge bath as long as your bandage does not get wet.

48 hours after your procedure

  • You can begin taking showers as long as a needle is not connected to your implanted port.
  • Do not soak in a bathtub or pool. When washing, be gentle with your skin around the port site. You can cleanse gently with soap, but don’t use a washcloth a scrubbing cloth or brush. Rinse your skin well and pat it dry with a soft towel.

2 weeks after your procedure

  • You may go completely underwater in a bathtub or pool as long as a needle is not connected to your implanted port.
  • You may use soap on your port area.

Restrictions on physical activity

Your doctors and nurses will give you instructions on what exercises and movements you can do while your incisions are healing. Check with your doctor or nurse before starting any exercises, such as:

  • Running
  • Stretching
  • Lifting anything over 10 pounds.
  • Any contact sports
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Common Questions

Will my implanted port set off metal detectors?


Can I go in an MRI scan with an implanted port?

Yes. The implanted port contains no metal and is safe for MRI scanners.

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Call Your Doctor or Nurse If:

  • You have pain at the site that is new or has increased.
  • You notice swelling or a growing bruise at the site.
  • You notice pus or fluid coming from the incision.
  • The incision is hot, tender, red, or irritated.
  • You develop a fever greater than 100.4° F (38.0° C).
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