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What is a Mediport?

A mediport is an implantable device, placed under the skin, used to give therapy or withdraw blood. It is simply a small reservoir with a rubber septum that can be repeatedly punctured with a special type of needle. There is a tube (catheter) that runs from the reservoir into your vein and the tip of this tube ends at the mid or upper portion of the heart.

Would you benefit from a Mediport?

A mediport is usually placed for patients who need repeated intravenous therapy infusions such as chemotherapy, blood transfusion, intermittent antibiotics, intermittent pain medications, or any other treatment that must be given into the vein. Often, a mediport is used when there aren’t very good arm veins or when the therapy may cause damage to arm veins. Mediports are also used to withdraw blood for various tests.


How is the Mediport used?

It is accessed with a special needle (Huber needle) designed to puncture the skin and rubber septum of the mediport. Using a Huber needle, your mediport should be accessed on average once each month and new sterile fluid should be infused into the mediport. This will keep the mediport free from forming blood clots and infection. If the mediport is being actively used, it can be accessed daily, if needed.

The mediports that we place are designed to be used in all situations where IV access is required.

What are the risks of a Mediport?

It is relatively low risk to have a Mediport. It is a foreign device being placed inside of your body and therefore comes with a risk of infection. The risk is small and we give antibiotics through an IV during placement to reduce this risk further. There is also a very small (<1%) risk of clot formation due to the catheter being in the vein. In the rare occasion that this occurs, it can usually be treated by taking blood thinning medications or, if necessary, removal of the mediport and clot.

How is a Mediport placed?

The procedure is done at El Camino Hospital where you will be set up with an IV to allow access for moderate (also known as “twilight”) sedation. You will then be taken to the procedure room where you will have a team of two nurses, a radiology technician and your interventional radiologist. You will be connected to heart, blood pressure and oxygen monitors during the entire procedure. IV medication will be administered to make you comfortable (moderate sedation). Then your interventional radiologist will administer numbing medication (local anesthetic) to the procedure site. Using fluoroscopy guidance (X-ray) a catheter will be inserted through a vein in your neck and a small catheter will be inserted. This catheter will be maneuvered down to the large vein in your chest called the superior vena cava and stop right before the heart. An approximately 2 cm superficial incision will be made a couple of inches below your collarbone where the mediport device will be inserted under the skin. The catheter will then be tunneled from your neck, just under the skin, to the mediport and connected. A small amount of skin glue is applied to your neck puncture site and dissolvable, internal sutures are used to close the small incision just above your mediport. Then the incision is also skin glued. The procedure time is about 15-20 minutes.

What should I expect after the procedure?

You will recover after your procedure for about 30 minutes in the post-operative area where your procedure site, heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen will be monitored. Your family will be able to see you soon after the procedure in the post-operative area and you will be able to eat and drink. If you are feeling well, you will be discharged home.

Care at the procedure site:

The incision is closed with internal sutures and covered with skin glue. Therefore, the incision is protected and you do not need a dressing. The glue will peel off by itself in 1-2 weeks. You do not need to do anything.

When can the Mediport be used?

Your port can be used right away. It may be slightly painful to access the port for the first few times, but after that it should improve. A special numbing medication can be applied prior to use, which the infusion center can provide it for you.

What should I watch for?

You may be sore after the procedure, but this should not get worse and should subside in 2-3 days.  During this time, you may take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen (Motrin/ Advil), Naproxen (Aleve),  Acetaminophen (Tylenol),  or other similar over-the-counter medications.  If you develop sudden pain or new swelling, call our office (650) 404-8445 or go to the emergency room if after 5pm or on the weekend.  

What type of Mediport was used? 

We use an MRI-compatible mediport capable for power injection. 

Specifically, all of the mediports that we place are:

  1. Safe to use in an MRI scanner.

  2. Safe to use for injection of contrast agents during CT or MRI imaging

How long can the Mediport stay in place? 

The Mediport can stay in place as long as you need it. However, it should be removed when you no longer need it, to avoid the risk of an unnecessary infection or formation of blood clots and scarring in the veins. Please call us when you no longer need the port (650.404.8445) so we can schedule removal.  

How is the Mediport removed? 

The mediport can be removed with a simple procedure that is performed in the office with local anesthesia. The procedure takes about 10-20 minutes.

When should you call your physician?

  • Fever or chills > 101.5 F.

  • Worsening of redness or worsening of pain in the procedure area.

  • New arm swelling.

  • Problems when using the mediport.

You can reach your Interventional radiologist at 650-404-8445.

General Instructions:

  • If you received sedation, you should not drive, consume alcohol, operate heavy machinery or make any important decisions for the remainder of the day.

  • You may resume your regular activities (including driving) after 24 hours, unless you have been restricted for another reason.

  • No exercising, lifting heavy objects or strenuous activity for the next 24 hours.

Pain Management
  • You may use over the counter medication such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) for minor discomfort, unless you are restricted from taking these medications.

  • If you feel that Tylenol or Advil are not enough for pain control, please contact the Vascular and Interventional Radiology Clinic at 650-404-8445.

  • You may resume your normal diet. Some patients may develop nausea after the sedation. Therefore light meals are recommended until you know that you can eat without problems.

  • You can take a shower tonight. You should not soak the wound in water (ie. bath and swimming pool) for 1 week. If the incision site gets wet, simply blot it dry with a towel.

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