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Chemotherapy Vein Access

Chemotherapy Vein Access

December 14, 2021
Everett Bonner, MD
Everett Bonner, MD

Breast Surgery

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Transcript

After a consultation with your breast surgeon and your medical oncologist, if they’ve decided that chemotherapy is going to be the regimen that you’re going to need, those patients who receive it before surgery or after surgery, we’re going to need access to your vessels. Now, traditionally, IVs have been used for chemotherapy, but sometimes chemotherapy, because it’s toxic, can really manipulate the vessels, making it harder for them to get IV access. And also it may be that you’re not a good fan of having a needle stick every time or someone trying to find an IV in you. So a lot of times, your surgeon, with consultation with your medical oncologist, may recommend doing a Mediport or a chemo port, or what we call vascular access for your chemotherapy. Basically what a Mediport is, it’s a long catheter that’s attached to a reservoir. That reservoir is where the injections go. Most patients will get those onto their chest, either on the left side or the right side, and we usually go into what we call a vessel, we call it the subclavian vein, under your collarbone. The reason why we like that vein is because it’s less intrusive. If your subclavian vein, or the vein under your collarbone, is not able to be accessed, sometimes we actually access a vessel within your neck. That’s okay. Some patients will have that access. The main goal is to have good access for your chemotherapy. Those ports will usually sit on your chest. They’re under the skin, so you actually don’t see the apparatus, but you can feel the bump that’s there. That way, when it’s time for your chemotherapy, your medical oncologist will prescribe a little medicine that you can rub onto your port site, which numbs the skin up a little bit. Usually you do that about 30 minutes to an hour before your procedure. Then when you show up for your chemo treatment, that skin’s a little numb and they just access that one little spot so you don’t feel it and it’s less traumatic and it’s easy to get your chemotherapy. And once you’re done, the needle comes out and then you can go enjoy the rest of your day.