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Picc line vs a in-chest port

JADot's picture
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Guys and Gals:

I have a quick question re: what you think of a picc line vs a in-chest port. What are your experience with them and how did you choose one over the other?

Thanks ahead!


StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003


I wasn't given a choice. I was pretty much told the port was the option for me, and I've never had any problems. I still have it even thought I've been clear for over 4 yrs. Plan on removing it on my 5 yr aniversary.

Good Luck,

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

I had a Hickmann -- which I think is similar to picc line (external). I went this route because, at the hospital where I was receiving my treatment, it was more common -- everyone was more used to it. However, if I had it to do over again, I'm pretty sure I would chose the port-o-cath (under the skin). I had no problems with the Hickman, but I kind of hated it hanging out of me. I couldn't swim or hot-tub (!). Bit difficult to sleep. Fiddle with clothing. And a constant reminder of my patient status. I got mine removed as soon as I finished chemo. Good luck with your decision.

markatger's picture
Posts: 315
Joined: Feb 2005

Neither!!...no that's bad....both of them are reallky ok. I had PiCC for about 5 months and now have had in chest port for about 6 months. From My experiences Pros and Cons are:

Pro- no needle prick ever to access, possible less chance of infection and blood clots that in chest port - but I've acutally been told by some nurses that the risks are similar.

Cons - Hangs out of you, constant reminder to you and others that you are a cancer paitent. Bandage had to be changed weekly. developed severe dermatitis and itching uder dressing that was later able to get somewhat under control.

In -chest Port

Pro - mostly hidden, only need to be fluched once a month, can swim/ shower normally

COns - possibly slight higher risk of blood infection and clotting. Neeldle prick needed to access. Only chemo nurses should access port. NOT ALL nurses know that protocol for how to use these ports. It is important that they get flushed and packed with heparin at least every 4 weeks and when they aren't beeing used even for a short amount of time..

Good Luck-
I'm mostly happy with my in chest port especially after the dermatitisis and weekly dressing change of the PICC


Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Hey -
My onc really thought the port was the way to go.I was fine with it - a little bulge in my breast; my surgeon (who didn't want me to have another scar and thought the pic would be better) wanted me to feel most comfortable, so he kept it (the port) lower than the shoulder region. The only few negatives for me were these: It was very painful to be put in - took over a week or so to be able to think abaout starting chemo with it; it caught on my seat belt (every time I drove) and that was really painful; removal was hard - my surgeon called it a barbacle and had to truly pry it out of my chest....I had pain the area for at least a month or so. Still - if you can believe it - i am incredibly happy that I had it. My onc thought the pic line would be problematic with blouses and catching on things; the port never was. It was sore and that was about it. I had it out about four months after chemo stopped...and coould not wait for the bloddy thing to be taken out! I hope this has helped a bit. Aside from a somewhat nasty scar (going in and out of the same place twice) I am happy that I had it. All the best to you - Maura

goldfinch's picture
Posts: 737
Joined: Oct 2003

I've had both and I swear by the port. It does show a bulge and it does require a needle stick, but the bulge is just one more sign that I'm fighting this and going to win and they can give you a numbing cream to apply about 1 hour before any needle prick which makes it comfortable.
With the PICC line I had to keep my arm dry when I tried to take a shower and although I could bend at the elbow I always knew it was there. Of course, maybe I just hated the picc line because I was very sick with the chemo radiation combo and that's all I can think of when I think of the picc.

Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2006

I have had a port since October of 2003. I haven't had any problems with it. It sure make treatment easy. I would take it any time

Moesimo's picture
Posts: 1080
Joined: Aug 2003


I work where the picc lines and ports are put in, I chose a picc line. It is a little more maintainence than a port. It needs to get flushed daily. If i had to do it over, (I hope I don't), I would chose a port because it is all under the skin.

Good luck


Posts: 297
Joined: Apr 2004

Hi JADot!!!
I am getting a port this Tuesday. Port in around 7:30 am and chemo begins around 10:00am same day. Everybody has told me to get a port. Terri

Posts: 60
Joined: Jul 2004

Everyone's opinion counts my husband had his port put in the same day he started chemo, they put the access tube in so he didn't have to be stuck at the infusion center that first time. It has been in 18 months now and the once a month port flush is a breeze. My daughter had her port removed on the same day my husband's went in she hated it felt it was alien to her and couldn't wait for it to come out. She has breast cancer and will have it reinserted if she needs to we certainly hope not. Tim doesn't mind his at all. Louise

Posts: 425
Joined: Jan 2005

Hi: My husband has a port and was initailly very leary of it..after going through 6 months of needle pricks in his hands and arms- the one "prick" when the access the port is easier...he hated the look of the PICC with the dressing and tubing...with the port he really has no restrictions at all-

JADot's picture
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

Thanks everyone!!! I think I'll get a port. I was opting for a picc line earlier, but now I think that if I do chemo, a port is the way to go. You guys are so great to share your experience with me!

Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2012

I also thank you all/i am now comfortable getting my port in Tomorrow Fri June 8th,2012/hope to be posting good news after 6 treatments/des

Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2012

I also thank you all/i am now comfortable getting my port in Tomorrow Fri June 8th,2012/hope to be posting good news after 6 treatments/des

Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2012

I also thank you all/i am now comfortable getting my port in Tomorrow Fri June 8th,2012/hope to be posting good news after 6 treatments/des

Momof2plusteentwins's picture
Posts: 508
Joined: May 2012

I got a port initially and started my 5FU 24/7, it started leaking the 2nd week in the middle of the night all over my skin. Luckily it was going at 1.5 ml/hr but it did burn my skin. The port would get kinked, it was positional so couldn't be used. I ended up getting a picc for my remaining 4 weeks, that was a real pain, I had to wrap it everyday to take a shower, it is hot here in Georgia - so wearing short sleeves, it would hang out. Then I got a blood clot in my upper extremity after it swelling and hurting, so now I'm on blood thinners, Lovenox shots twice a day. In the hospital for 2 days with blood clot. Now I still have port which doesn't work, picc is gone and surgery June 19th. Hopefully can get another port on right side, for 24 weeks of chemo after surgery. Neither one is guaranteed problem free but I would rather have port.

thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

The Port is safer and has less infections. Both have a risk of user error vs one has more failures then the other. The Port being under the skin has less risk of infection. It was an easy surgery in and out. Truthfully it hurt more abrading the skin as I lost weight. (It was not much more of a nuisance.)

Best Always, mike

dmj101's picture
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2011

I have a Bard Power Port and have never had any issues..
I understand there is also a Power PIC. I had a PIC while in the hospital as they didn't want to use my port for some reason.. In the main hospital they didn't have the proper fish hook to access it...

Power Port was the best decission I ever made.. very happy with it.. I am not sure if a PIC would be in the arm for you for these purposes. mine was and I would think it would be obtrusive and difficult to get dressed arround..Whereas the Port is in the chest and easy to dress with and not very noticable unless you point it out..(want to laugh... it is so not obvious that my once boyfriend(if I can call him that) kissed it as he just thought it was a scar till I told him what it was- then he stayed clear of it- I laughed.. I thought it was funny)

traci43's picture
Posts: 775
Joined: Jul 2007

My onc said you're getting one, but since I couldn't get one in time for the first round I got a PICC line. Soon after I received my port and I love it!

The PICC line is inconvenient--you have to wrap your arm to shower and forget swimming, at least for me. My cat likes to knead me and I would have to be really careful of that as well. PICC lines should be replaced every year or so, ports last longer as long as you get it flushed monthly. With my port I can swim, shower without worry. It is a visible bump on your chest wall with a scar from the incision. If you like strapless or thin straps it will show, no doubt about that. I was self-conscious at first, by could care less now. I've had mine almost 5 years without a problem. Your PICC line is going to show as well, although they gave me a mseh sock to cover it so I wouldn't snag the PICC line on anything.

Good luck to you whatever your choose.

Posts: 37
Joined: Dec 2011

I was not given a choice, I had a port put in. However, after about 5 weeks they took it out and put in a PICC line. I had empatic fliud coming out the port after and during access to it. Picc line is now in and has been for 17 weeks. Port is nice, but you feel the needle go in and have to sue numbing cream. PICC line has to be flushed daily and cannot get wet as others have stated.

I actually do not have a preference either way.. however Ihave had less problems with the PICC! I hate needles and probably the way I would go if i had to do it again! I felt nothing with the Port install, I felt everything with the PICC install.. I was awake for the PICC just a local but it was not enough!

John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

I have had a PICC line since 2011. I have -0- problems with
the PICC line. The "TagaDerm" plastic shield keeps water off,
and the entire area safe from contamination. There is no reason
not to swim or shower with a PICC line!

Any problem with a "port" will require an operation to remove
the port. A problem with a PICC line is usually resolved with
a flush, but when a flush is not successful, it is fairly simple for
the "interventional radiology" department to fix or replace the
defective PICC.

It depends on the use of the port or PICC. If you're going to
do chemo on a regular basis, a port would be better. If the
access is for a daily infusion of hydration, etc (as I have),
then a PICC line would be more suitable.

I have had a PICC line since Feb of 2011. It is doing fine,
and infusions are no problem. There is no "needle stick" as
there is with a port, since the connection is akin to a common
IV connection.

The port and PICC utilize the same veins at the same locations
for the infusion. The only difference is that the "port" includes
a storage device to allow the meds to be infused at a slower rate.

As a patient, you have the right to decide what you desire to
be placed within your body, and the right to ask as many
questions that will provide answers to help you make your

-YOU- have to be your own advocate! It is your life, not
the physician's or his staff.

Best wishes for good health!


golf_gal's picture
Posts: 69
Joined: Dec 2011

The power port was great! Easy in......easy out. I would have it done again.

Posts: 1282
Joined: Apr 2012

I wasn't given a choice. Port and chemo pump @1 +1/2 mlt per hr 24/7 . No problems. so like others I vote for PORT.

fatbob2010's picture
Posts: 467
Joined: May 2012

I have a port and the catheter flipped up into the Jugular. It was uncomfortable but was easily corrected by the Interventional Radiology staff here, with no discomfort to me. Took them about 20 minutes to pull the catheter back down were it belonged. OTHERWISE, the port has performed flawlessly with no maintenance.

bspangler47's picture
Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2010

For me I have had several PICCS lines after having my PORT removed once treatment was done. If I had it to do it all over again, would of kept the port, now when I go to the ER or being admitted they have a very hard time starting a IV,

Posts: 2215
Joined: Oct 2011

I have had both and had blood clots (DVT) as a result in both ports and piccs. I think they both suck.

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