CSN Login
Members Online: 7

Power Port Insertion

Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

I have questions for everyone who has had a port implanted. How sore were you after the surgery, and how long did it last?

I have a very high pain tolerance, and expected this was going to be very simple. In fact, I figured I'd be working late afternoon. Thank goodness I told my clients I was out for the entire day. I had the same surgeon that did my resection, and I am thrilled with how I am healing from that. He has inserted lots of ports too - a very experienced surgeon.

I am not one to whine about pain normally. I walked more than the nurses wanted me to after resection surgery. (My surgeon is not as strict as the nurses.) I was up 12 hours after surgery and took many walks each day. I was walking 3 miles a day less than 2 weeks after surgery.

I am VERY swollen and bruised, chest and neck. (I do bruise easily.) I hurt a lot any time I do anything that involves the muscles on the left side of my neck, or my left chest muscles. I couldn't put a bra on yesterday or today - it hurts too much to lift the breast up into the bra - pushes up on the sore area (I'm pretty saggy, so we are talking moving some real estate - LOL!). This pain is as much or more than I had from the colon resection. I was expecting a simple little procedure with not much to slow me down afterwards. Was I just overly optomistic?

I hate pain pills and normally won't take them, but yesterday I was in so much pain I took them twice. Last night I could not sleep. Maybe 5-10 minutes at a stretch, wake up, go back to sleep, wake up.... I'm exhausted today. I haven't taken any pain meds today because I needed to work. They make me fuzzy and nauseated - I can only deal with them if I try to go to sleep after I take them. They did send me home with a bottle of 30 Vicodin - should I take this as a sign that I was to expect a lot of pain?

No one has mentioned much about any pain from this procedure. In fact, I was told I could have it inserted one day, and they could use it for chemo the next. I don't see how they could do that. I don't know how you'd even find the thing - such a huge area of my chest is swollen that I can't pinpoint the port. And if anyone touched/pushed on my chest, I'd kill them. Is this unusual? Should I call the doctor? Wait and see how I am tomorrow?

Posts: 305
Joined: Feb 2009


I hurt more than I anticipated but only for two or three days. Four days after insertion, I had chemo and it hurt for them to insert the needle but not after it was inserted. Were you given any instructions on how to take care of the area?
I really think you should call your doctor and talk to the nurse about the amount of pain you are in, they can take an x-ray of the area and make sure it was placed properly.


Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2009

I agree with you that she should tell her Doctor. Sometimes the ports can migrate. As for you.. Ask them to place a local anesthetic jelly on site before they pierce the skin. You shouldn't feel anything at all. It also creats a barrier to help protect the skin from breaking down from the needle insertions over time.

dianetavegia's picture
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

Kathryn, I have a high tolerance for pain, too. My port area was sore for several weeks and would have some pain on and off during the 8 months it was in if I slept on my side or tummy. I had much more pain when they removed my port because of scar tissue built up around it. I was not given any pain meds for either the insertion or removal (wouldn't have taken them anyhow)

I was walking 2 -3 miles each day not long after surgery, too. I actually went to Walmart the night I was released from the hospital. I stayed in only 42 hours. LOL

I'm a small person and not chesty at all. I am going to guess that part of your problem might be your real estate is pulling on that already sore area. You have a couple of acres and I've got a condo (started to say Time Share but figured one of our guys would have a good joke for that. LOLOL)

Since this is Friday and you're so bruised, etc., I'd call the surgeon just to be safe.

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 4563
Joined: Feb 2009

My port is located on my right side and I did have pain for a couple days but nothing that was what you described. The only reason why it hurts now is because it lays on top of my collar bone and sticks out so when I hug someone, or my shirt rubs on it it hurts or bothers me. I would call your doctor to make sure. I never had much swelling to be alarmed about. Better check with him first. Hope you feel better real soon. Sorry you are experiencing such pain. When you don't sleep it can make you miserable with everything you do. Let us know how you are feeling.


butterfly23's picture
Posts: 257
Joined: Mar 2008

Hi Katheryn
I agree with everyone here, I would call your surgeon just to be on the safe side. I was lucky, I really did not have any pain after my port was put in. I won't hurt to give him a call. Let us know how you make out!

Shayenne's picture
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

I had such giggles at you an Diane describing your boobs, I had to jump in on this post, that was so cute LOL....

Anyway....I did have some soreness and tenderness for a few weeks after the surgery, but it didn't swell or bruise, it's still uncomfortable when I move or hug someone as well, and it bothers me as well to wear a bra, and when it rubs against me when I wear a seatbelt.

I never did like those Vicodins...I take Oxycontin which works well, and Oxycodone for breakthrough pain, I think when in pain, it's ok to take something for it, no need to suffer from this, if it helps. I would probably call the doctor just to be on the safe side....and I have heard of people getting this done as well and having chemo the next day.

There is a topical numbing cream you can use to put on the port site before they insert the needle I use, you put it on about an hour before you go to the infusion place, and I mean GLOB it on, spread on thickly, put some saran plastic wrap over the site, and then they'll wash it off, and you won't even feel them cleaning the area, it makes a difference to me, I hate having that needle inserted without the cream.

Hope you feel better soon!


PamPam2's picture
Posts: 375
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi Kathryn
I agree you need to call your doctor, the amount of swelling you describe does not sound right. I was very sore, and very bruised after, my whole breast became bruised, but no swelling like you have. They didn't tell me till it was too late, that ice could have been used to help with this. I think you should contact your doctor and be checked to rule any possibility of infection. Hope you get to feeling better soon.

Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Kathryn:

The bruising and swelling and the continual pain do not sound like the normal response after port insertion surgery. There may be an infection or the positioning of the catheter or port may not be correct. Please contact your surgeon, just to be on the safe side.

My mother went through that pain and it is unbearable!

Let us know what happens....

Your friend,


Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Katherine,
Sorry to hear of your difficulties with the Portacath. I would recommend that you contact yopur surgeon and tell him what's going on. There shouldn't be that much swelling and pain with the insertion of the device.
Admittedly, I don't have boobs to drag things down and maintain a pressure on the site, but still, except for a discomfort or slight pain when hugging someone or wearing a seatbelt, etc I experienced practically no pain at all.
I did have a problem when the port line had clogged up and one of the Chemo drugs, Sisplatin, I believe, leaked out into the tissues around the port and to this day I have a fairly large sized area of scar tissue there. The Doctors were very concerned about that developement, those drugs are intended to go throuigh your system quite rapidly and they sure aren't meant to stay there in an area where a body can't eliminate them.
Please consult with your Doctor, or Chemo Nurse, and keep us informed.

Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

Well, I did call the surgeon, and they stuck me in the hospital last night. i'll be here again tonight. I'm not going to type it all out again, but if you want to read it is at the link below.


Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

The port had to come out. Not starting chemo this week now. I'm really bummed.


Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Kathryn,
I suspected that you were developing an infection at the port site, I knew several of the patients in the BMT Ward that had nearly the same symptoms. I'm glad you went to the Doctor and they took immediate procedures to take care of it. You'll be able to get another port, or possibly a Hickman IV line, to take the Chemo with and I'm sure you'll do just fine. Don't worry about being unable to enjoy your time with your loved one, you'll be surprised at how well you can do during Chemo if you set your mind to it.

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 4563
Joined: Feb 2009

I'm so sorry that you are in the hospital, but I think it was a good decision to call the doctor and let him know what you were experiencing. When you described it, it just didn't seem right. I hope that you get this all cleared up. I know you are wanting to start chemo and get the ball rolling, but it is more important for you to get this taken care of first. Please let us know how you are doing. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2016 © Cancer Survivors Network