Impact of totally implanted venous access port placement on body image in women with breast cancer

J Vasc Access. 2024 Mar;25(2):673-676. doi: 10.1177/11297298221136330. Epub 2022 Nov 18.


Totally implanted venous access ports (TIVAPs) have been established as effective and safe devices for oncologic patients. In breast cancer setting, the implant of the reservoir at mid-arm allows the absence of additional scars on the chest and the easier access to the port with significant cosmetic and psychological advantages. In the last decades, breast surgery has made great progresses to ameliorate the cosmetic results even in mastectomy techniques. In fact, many studies have demonstrated that negative body image perception affects physical and psychological wellbeing of survivors. Despite this evidence, limited importance is still reserved to TIVAPs placement site, which is traditionally the chest. It is not unusual to see patients after a nipple-sparing mastectomy with excellent cosmetic result who show a disfiguring scar on their upper chest due to TIVAP placement. We report the case of a young woman with BRCA2-related breast cancer who underwent bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and adjuvant chemotherapy. Her TIVAP was located at the mid-arm, which is still an uncommon site compared to the upper chest. An optimal cosmetic result was obtained both in breast reconstruction and in the arm site of port, with high-rate patient satisfaction. This case presentation aims to raise awareness towards women's body image preservation, particularly in the choice of TIVAP placement: in most cases neckline and upper chest should be avoided for a better patient related outcome.

Keywords: Oncology access; arm PICC-port; arm port; body image; breast cancer; chest port; patient related outcome; techniques and procedures; totally implanted venous access ports.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Body Image
  • Breast Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Catheterization, Central Venous*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Retrospective Studies