What can I expect from a medication port?

It’s natural to have questions after your doctor prescribes a surgically implanted port for your chemotherapy or intravenous treatments. While this medical device might seem a little strange at first, you’ll soon see that a port can be beneficial during your treatment. A port will make it easier and less painful to receive your medications, and your visits may even become shorter.

A direct connection to a vein
A port is composed of a metal or plastic body and a flexible catheter (tube). It has a self-healing silicon septum (middle) where medication is administered. The port body and catheter are concealed beneath your skin but provide easy access to your larger veins to quickly and safely deliver your medication. The port and catheter are surgically inserted under local anesthetic and conscious sedation . You will be able to go home the same day.

ShoulderwithXportispPorts are placed a few inches below the collarbone for most patients. There will be a bump under the skin where the port is located (your skin covers the port so visually you only see a bump where the port sits). You can bathe and participate in most other activities because of the self-healing septum. This design also helps prevent any infection at the site.

Receiving medication is faster and less painful
There are many benefits to having a port. Here is a short video outlining the benefits of a port: http://bit.ly/1bfLS94

Treatment will be simpler and faster because your port is in place. It may mean less pain and irritation because there’s no need to find a good vein each time you need an IV, blood draw, or other treatment. Also, the port will prevent your medicine from leaking into the skin which sometimes happens with other medication delivery methods. Some ports will even allow you to receive power injections for imaging through your port. Once you have a port, a member of your care team can easily begin your treatment once you arrive for therapy.

As with any surgically inserted medical device, there are some downsides. Some people may develop an infection, scarring, and limits to some activities. Your doctor can explain these effects and, together, you both can decide what is best for your situation.

At the VCU Baird Vascular Institute, we know all about placing and maintaining intravenous ports and how they benefit patients. Ports are placed at Baird Vascular Institute by our expert academic physicians who have extensive training – it is one of the most frequent procedures we perform. BVI is an ideal place, with our friendly, comfortable outpatient environment and without the hassles of dealing with a hospital operating room. For more information, please call (804) 828-2600(804) 828-2600 or email bairdvascularinstitute@mcvh-vcu.edu.

Meet the care team

Malcolm K. Sydnor Jr., M.D.

As the Director of Vascular and Interventional Radiology at VCU Medical Center, Dr. Sydnor is an integral part of the VCU Baird Vascular Institute care team. He specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of varicose veins and peripheral arterial disease as well as placement of port-a-caths for long term central venous access.

Dr. Malcolm SydnorDr. Sydnor uses imaging guidance to perform minimally invasive treatments. Therefore treatments that used to require major open surgery can now be performed through small incisions without the need of general anesthesia.

Recently, we asked Dr. Sydnor about his work at VCU Baird. Here’s what he had to say.

What is the best part of working at VCU Baird?
Being able to help patients using advanced technology in the comfort of an outpatient facility.

What is the best part of your day?
Seeing patients after you have helped them with their problem and they are excited and happy to have their problem fixed.

Why is VCU Baird unique?
We have experienced academic experts available to patients in a comfortable community setting. And VCU Baird also offers multiple disciplines working together to make sure patients get the best care possible for their vascular disease It’s also wonderful that we have a plentiful support staff whose major priority is creating a comfortable customer-friendly environment for our patients.

Dr. Sydnor also serves as Associate Professor of Radiology and Surgery at VCU Health System and Medical Director of the Baird Vascular Institute. He earned his M.D. from VCU, completed his residency at VCU Medical Center and finished his fellowship at University of Virginia.

Board Certifications Dr. Sydnor holds are:
• American Board of Radiology – Diagnostic Radiology, 2004
• Certificate of Added Qualification – Vascular and Interventional Radiology, 2007

With our friendly, comfortable outpatient environment and skilled physicians with academic expertise, VCU Baird Vascular Institute offers excellent vascular care without the overwhelming experience of a large hospital. For more information, please call (804) 828-2600(804) 828-2600 or email bairdvascularinstitute@mcvh-vcu.edu.