Medical Imaging

Removal of a Portacath

A port consists of a reservoir compartment (the portal) that has a silicone bubble for needle insertion with an attached plastic tube (the catheter). The catheter runs from the portal and is surgically inserted into a vein usually the superior vena cava. Once a port is inserted it can stay in for months or even years if it is cared for properly. Once the port is no longer required or it becomes infected it can be removed.


You will need to fast for four hours before your appointment, this will ensure that your stomach is empty and eliminates the risk of aspiration (of fluid or food into the lungs).

Please go to the peri-operative department on the day of your procedure and the staff there will prepare you and perform a set of routine observations before coming to the interventional radiology department for your procedure.

Please continue to take all your regular medication with sips of water (unless otherwise instructed), including your blood pressure medication.

Please inform the clerk at the time of booking your procedure if you are currently taking medication that thins your blood (eg Aspirin, Plavix, Warfarin)  as these may need to be stopped a few days prior to your procedure. It may be useful to bring a LIST of medications to your appointment.

You will need to bring any previous films (x-ray/CT/MRI/US) along to your appointment.

It is important that you inform a member of staff as soon as possible if you are pregnant BEFORE the procedure is performed. If you suspect that you could be pregnant then you will need to have a pregnancy test at the hospital prior to the commencement of the procedure.

For health and safety reasons, family members cannot be present with you during the procedure. A staff member will be available to assist you at all times during the procedure if you have any concerns.


A doctor will explain the procedure to you and ask you to sign a consent form. You will be required change into a hospital gown and lie on our examination table on your back and a set of observations will be taken (blood pressure etc).

A sterile sheet will be draped over you with the insertion site exposed. A cold cleaning solution will be applied to clean the skin.

The doctor will inject local anaesthetic to numb the area. An incision is then made close to the port pocket was and is the port is removed. The skin is then sutured and a clear waterproof dressing is applied.

  Post Procedure

You will be required to stay in the department for recovery depending upon the doctor’s discretion.


A report regarding your procedure will be given to you before you leave to give to your referring doctor. It contains information about your procedure and any findings that your doctor should know about.


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Page last updated: 24 February, 2015