portacath/hickman line

I have been advised to have hickman line fitted , as had lymph glands removed on both sides, has anybody tried a portacath line instead, and are there any benefits or pitfalls to it?

Hi ruffy,

I have had several hickman lines over the years, and back in October I had a portacath put in. As far as I see it there were no drawbacks to the portacath other than it has to be done usually under a general. It takes about 20mins. But the end result is no danglies :). It is put on either your right or left side about 2" below collar bone - though some surgeons put them in the breast tissue area. I know I may be unpopular doing this (and moderator if you are not happy please feel free to remove the link) but I have posted a very clear photograph of what it looks like inserted on the www.bcpals.org.uk forum, and also a photograph of the type of needle they use to access it. I can’t recommend it highly enough - I am delighted with mine.


Hi Ruffy

I have got a portacath and have also experiencewith Hickman lines. I would say the portacath is the best option - it is discrete and there is less chance of infection as it is burrowed under the skin. If you have a choice go for the portacath.


My chemo was delivered via veins in one arm as the other was not available because of lymph removal. The veins are now completely shot even 3 months later. Today a phlebotomist had difficulty getting enough blood at my GPs for a normal blood sample. The hospital wanted to fit a Hickman to deliver Herceptin but I strongly requested a portacath. My reading on the subject and talking to patients led me towards the portacath as a better alternative for many reasons. The problem in my area seemed to be on cost but my request has been granted. It just shows you need to ask to get.

Does anyone one know wherter or not Cheltenham has facilities for fitting portacaths??? Has anyone had one fitted there? Any advice or info always welcome.
thanks to you all

Hi Ruffyp

I had a Hickman Line fitted and it was brilliant. I did though, sadly, get a nasty infection in it and had to have it removed half way through my chemo treatment. I was awake when they removed it and it was not bad at all and I am a terrible baby about anything like that. ( The handsome Doc removing it did help a lot and the giggly nurse took my mind off it as she tried her best not to flirt so obviously LOL, we are all human!) I did find it a little uncomfortable for a while after having it put in though, I was very stiff but it was well worth putting up with that even if I did only have it in for a few months. I have extremely bad veins at the best of times and have a terrible needle phobia.

My 5 year old Nephew also had a Hickman Line fitted for his chemo and got on great with it too and got no infection, he also suffered with the same stiffness problem that I did for a short time after it was put in but quickly recovered and also had no problem having it removed. He called his Barny.

Best of luck

Hugs Neenie x