I had a port put in under local last December, was a bit sore or a about a week and some local bruising.
It is the best thing ever, no more poking about for a vein. If you have extended IV treatment I would say go for it. On the macmillan boards there is a thread about portacaths. I didn't know when mine was put in that it is a postcode lottery as to whether you are offered one or not.
PS- when they put the port in under local it was not unpleasant the only thing i felt was the local going in. The table would be tilted with my head down when they inserted the tube in the vein in my neck. It was definately not unpleasant just uncomfortable laying with your head to one side and still for the length of the procedure.
I had a port fitted last Friday. I had a Hickman line a few years ago and the procedure is very similar. I had mine with sedation and a local anesthetic. I didn't find it painful or traumatic in any way.
I am bit sore now and aware that its there all the time but I'm sure that will pass.
Like some of the others here I am on treatment for life and what a blessing my portacath has been. For me it has taken the stress out of regular visits and hunt the vein traumas. I have had mine now for nearly 3 years and it has never given trouble. My hospital (the Royal Marsden) says it only fits them under GA. I have found I don't need Emla (numbing cream) because I don't feel any pain when it is accessed.
I have a Portacath that was fitted under sedation before my first chemo. I've had no problems with it at all and wouldn't hesitate to have one again if necessary - if fact I'd beg for one rather than have to have regular vein access!
The Macmillan website has some diagrams of all the ports and very detailed information. I had my portacath inserted under ga and apart from an infection in a stitch it's been fab. I have Emla on it before bloods, Chemo and it's been painless really sitting under the skin. I am due to have it out under ga as Chemo is finished now.
Broomsticklady - a portacath is a port fitted under the skin and into your vein, usually just below the collarbone on your non-affected side. The skin seals over it, so there is minimal risk of infection, and you access it with a needle and canula just as if it were a vein.
It is usually only used when access to veins is required over a long period.
Re Elaine's comment on GA - I asked my surgeon if he would do it under a local anaesthetic, and he was very, very reluctant. As he said, you really don't want someone moving when you are accessing a vein! I guess all surgeons are different, but I would assume it would be done under a general.
I have a portacath - I had a few teething problems but am very glad to have it - playing find the vein wasn't much fun. Like Elaine I am on treatment for life, so there really isn't an alternative if your veins are no good. It also makes treatment much easier - just having two hands free is nice. It does take a little while to get used to having it, and I still get the odd twinge - but wouldn't be without it.
Just one word of warning. The op to install it is pretty straightforward - but double check that your surgeon knows what drugs you are on, if any. Mine wasn't aware that I was on a drug that prevents clotting, with fairly unpleasant consequences and I had to have a second emergency op. It was nothing to do with the portacath, just the bleeding.
Will your treatment be continuous or is this a short term measure?
Can I ask a silly question? I know what a PICC line is, I know what a Hickman is but I've no idea what one of these is! Can anyone describe please?!
Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! I had one inserted as I had had infections on both Hickman+PICC lines. As I'm on treatment for life, with dreadful veins and lymphoedema, then this was the next option. It's much less obtrusive (if that type of thing is important to you), very unlikely to become infected (important to me!), and even the nurses love it. It was inserted under a GA-no idea if this, or sedation, is the norm, but I had no immediate post insertion problems, other than a reaction to the anaesthetic. If you are facing a future of long term treatment, do get one if you can.
Has anyone got any comments on whether a portacath is a good idea? Is the procedure OK?
PS I start 6 sessions of FEC the week after next and then herceptin for a year so it should be removed after 18 months... they say my veins are good but reading the comments it looks like people often start with good veins! Procedure will be under local but the hospital have said the procedure is unpleasant...