Catheter Placement

Catheter, PICC, & Port Placement

A minimally invasive procedure to place a catheter that provides vascular access

A catheter is a tube that can be placed into a vein for frequent vascular access.

The catheter may be used to deliver certain medications directly to the patient’s bloodstream and/or to obtain blood samples.

Interventional radiologists may be asked to place a catheter using a minimally invasive image-guided procedure.

Depending on the expected use of the catheter, it may be tunneled or non-tunneled.

Non-Tunneled Catheter

Some patients require vascular access for treatment on a more short term basis.

When this is the case, a non-tunneled catheter might be chosen.

A non-tunneled catheter is inserted directly into a large vein and is typically recommended to be used for a matter of weeks.

Tunneled Catheter

A tunneled catheter travels under the skin for several inches before being inserted into a vein, and can typically be used for a longer period of time than a non-tunneled catheter.


A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC line) is a specific type of long-term use catheter that enters the body through the skin in your arm.

The PICC line runs to the superior vena cava, a large vein in the middle of your body.

Medications given through the PICC line are therefore delivered directly to the body’s main blood supply.

Port Placement

A port (or portacath) is a small device combined with a catheter that is often placed in patients requiring chemotherapy.

The catheter sits in the vein, while the attached port sits just under the skin’s surface on the chest and can be accessed for giving medications or drawing blood.

A port is chosen for long-term vascular access (months to years) as it carries a lower risk of infection sitting entirely under the skin’s surface.


For more information, including questions about referrals, please contact us at:

(616) 459-7225

Or, visit our Contact page.

Additional Online Resources:
The Interventional Initiative
Society of Interventional Radiology
Radiology Info for Patients

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