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Port or PICC Line Placement

Updated on Jun 3, 2021 by Dr. George Bolotin (Vein & Vascular Specialist) of Vein & Vascular Medical Care

You may need a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) or a port line if you find yourself in a medically supervised situation needing frequent medication or blood draws. One end of a PICC is inserted into your vein, and the other end is kept outside your skin, where it can be connected to an IV. A port is similar, except the end is still under your skin, accessible with a needle through a rubber cap. Both serve a purpose when you need long-term care. Trust Dr. George Bolotin of the Astra Vein Treatment Center in Brooklyn for expert care when you need either. Call for an appointment today.

What Is a PICC Line?

A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC), also known as a long line, is a type of central venous access catheter. That just means it’s a tube inserted through a vein temporarily to provide ready access to your bloodstream. One end is inside your vein, while the other end sticks out at the source, where it’s capped.

Once placed into your vein, a PICC allows your doctor quick, pain-free access to your vein to deliver nutrients and medications without needing additional needle punctures. Since a bit of the tube protrudes, your doctor merely removes the cap and connects an intravenous (IV) line to the catheter.

Made of durable, flexible, infection-resistant plastic tubing, PICCs can remain in your vein for weeks or even months, usually under supervision. In Brooklyn, NY, Dr. George Bolotin and his team at the Astra Vein Treatment Center  perform a PICC line placement procedure when needed. It’s not a common procedure unless you need to be hospitalized for some time.

What Is a Port?

Similar to a PICC, a port provides access to your bloodstream for extended periods. While PICCs can last for months, your doctor can supply IV medications through a port for years. Like a PICC, a port is made out of strong, flexible plastic that resists infection.

Ports are available in different sizes and can be divided into several channels, known as lumens, to administer antibiotics, nutrients or other medications simultaneously. One or two lumens are usually enough for most patients. As a vascular vein doctor in Brooklyn, Dr. Bolotin specializes in installing ports, which consist of two parts:

  • A catheter that’s installed through a large vein in your chest
  • A rubber port, about the size of a nickel, under your skin on the side of your chest, which your doctor accesses by piercing the skin with a needle

Why Do I Need a PICC Line or a Port?

PICCs allow Dr. Bolotin to administer medications to the large veins bringing deoxygenated blood back to your heart. He may recommend a PICC if you require repeated pricks to take blood or deliver medicine. These catheters are considered a temporary solution for patients whose treatment is only expected to last several weeks, but not longer than several months.

While PICC or a port is not a perfect solution for everyone, several different types of patients can benefit from either a PICC line placement or a port placement. You may be a good candidate if you need:

  • Treatment for cancer. Chemotherapy and other drugs require frequent IV delivery, so a PICC line speeds up the time it takes to administer the drugs.
  • IV nutrition. If you’re suffering from digestive difficulties, a PICC line can benefit you by providing a direct infusion of nutrients through an IV.
  • Frequent medicines. Some medications can cause smaller veins to become inflamed. Additionally, antibiotics or antifungal treatments are more effective when delivered through larger veins directly where they’re needed most.

 How Is the PICC Line Placement Procedure Performed?

Placing a PICC line doesn’t require general anesthesia, but you do receive a local anesthetic to alleviate any discomfort. Dr. Bolotin likely uses ultrasound or a CT scan for live, clear images of your veins. Some doctors place the PICC near your elbow of your non-dominant arm, but others prefer to insert them near your neck or collar bone. The PICC line placement procedure follows a number of steps that include:

  • Dr. Bolotin may tie a band around your arm to better show your veins.
  • He cleans and numbs the area before inserting the needle.
  • Once he has pierced your vein with a needle, he may verify the placement with imaging technology.
  • He opens the vein with a small cut and inserts the catheter.
  • He carefully threads the tube through a large vein towards your heart.
  • Once it’s near its desired position, your vein doctor may verify the exact location with an x-ray, CT scan or ultrasound.
  • The catheter’s opposite end sticks out of your arm, where it gets cut and capped.
  • Your vascular specialist secures the protruding catheter to your skin with an adhesive or stitches so it’s fixed to your arm for safety.

Placing a port line is similar, except there’s no protruding catheter. The line ends with the rubber port situated under your skin on the side of your chest. Your doctor accesses the line with a needle through your skin and through the rubber port, into the catheter.

After the procedure, Dr. Bolotin gives you specific instructions for the care, maintenance and protection of your new PICC or port line. You can trust him with your health since he’s an acknowledged expert in Interventional Radiology, making him a vein specialist too. Contact the Astra Vein Treatment Center in Brooklyn for an initial consultation.

 

Dr. George Bolotin has either authored or reviewed and approved this content. Vein & Vascular Medical Care
4209 Ave U, Suite A.
Brooklyn, NY 11234
(718) 222-0225
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