Ray Sheppard Jr., MD
General Surgery and Advanced Robotic Surgery located in Huntsville, AL & Madison, AL
If you’re looking at long-term treatment of cancer, a vascular access port can help ease the process and allow your medications to get to where they need to go more quickly. Ray Sheppard, MD General Surgery offers vascular access port placements to patients in Madison and Huntsville, Alabama, taking one less hurdle out of fighting cancer. To learn more, please call or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.
Vascular Access Port Q & A
What is a vascular access port?
A vascular access port is a way for your medical team to have direct access to your bloodstream without creating a new access point each time they deliver your treatments. There are many reasons why you may need a vascular access port, including:
- Long-term antibiotics
- Kidney failure
The most common use of these ports is for chemotherapy because of the need to access your blood vessels both frequently and for long-term treatment protocols.
How is the vascular access port placed?
Dr. Sheppard typically places your chemo port under the skin on your chest or in your upper arm. This location decision is one that’s best made between you and your medical team, which includes Dr. Sheppard.
Dr. Sheppard typically performs the port placement using IV sedation or general anesthesia. To create the vascular access, he threads a long catheter into your vein and then places the port under your skin and hooks the catheter up to it. There will be a small, visible bump where Dr. Sheppard places the port.
Most patients tolerate the placement fairly well, and any discomfort afterward is easily addressed with over-the-counter pain medications and some ice, although you should watch for any signs of infection while the incision heals.
Is there anything I need to do to maintain my vascular access port?
There’s usually nothing you need to do on a daily basis to maintain your port. You may have to make some concessions in your sleep positions, but you’re able to do everything else normally, including bathing.
As your doctor uses the port for access, they keep an eye out for any problems or blockages. If your doctor spots a problem, Dr. Sheppard can quickly remedy the situation so you won’t miss any important treatments.
When your chemotherapy is over, you can return to Dr. Sheppard to have your port removed, which is a very simple procedure that requires only local anesthesia or conscious sedation.
To learn more about vascular access ports, please call Ray Sheppard, MD, or set up a consultation using the online scheduling button.