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Northland DHB Cancer & Blood Service

Public Service, Oncology, Cancer Network Group

Implantable Port

Implantable ports (sometimes called portacaths or subcutaneous ports) are often used to give chemotherapy treatment and/or other medicines to both adults and children with cancer.

An implantable port is a thin, soft, plastic tube (catheter) that is put into a vein in your chest or arm and has an opening (port) just under the skin. This allows medicines to be given into the vein or blood to be taken from the vein.

The catheter is usually inserted (tunnelled) under the skin of your chest. The tip of the catheter lies in a large vein just above your heart and the other end connects with the port which sits under the skin on your upper chest. The port will show as a small bump underneath your skin, which can be felt but is not visible on the outside of your body.This makes it possible for you to have your treatment without the need to frequently put needles into veins in your arms.

You can go home with the port in and it can be left in place for weeks, months or, for some people, years. A port may be very useful if doctors or nurses find it difficult to get needles into your veins.

If a port is required, this will be arranged by the specialists and nursing team.  The specialists and nurses will give you all the information about ports before the procedure is carried out, so that you are informed through every step of the process.

This page was last updated at 9:08AM on December 17, 2021.