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Central Line Placement

Anyone who has visited the hospital knows what it is like to have an intravenous(IV) line placed. It can be a challenging process that sometimes requires several attempts. Intravenous access is necessary for medications, fluids, and sometimes nutrition. While some patients have very small or a lack of arm veins, other patients require very caustic medications that must be given in large veins to avoid damage to fragile venous tissue. Still, other patients require long-term medications such as chemotherapy or antibiotics. These patients require a central line.

Central lines are long, thin catheters. They can have one or several catheter hubs for medication delivery. Some central lines can be left in place for weeks or months if they are tunneled under the skin appropriately. A port, which is often used for cancer treatment, is also a type of central line that is entirely embedded under the skin.

There are several large veins physicians can use for central line placement. Most commonly, the subclavian and internal jugular veins are used for long-term central line placement. These are larger, deep veins that aren’t visible on the skin’s surface. Physicians use anatomic landmarks and an ultrasound machine to accurately find the vein. Using the ultrasound probe for guidance, the physician will watch the needle enter the vessel. A wire is inserted into the needle and the catheter is threaded over the wire. The catheter can then be tunneled under the skin or secured.

While central line placement is a relatively common procedure, risks include damage to the surrounding tissues, improper placement, bleeding, and infection. It is also possible that the catheter is inserted in the wrong location or that other structures are damaged along the way. For this reason, it is important that patients find a board-certified general surgeon they can trust and have a good long-term relationship with.

Dr. Jenna Kazil is a superb double board-certified vascular and general surgeon that has passed a set of challenging board exams and receives a certification demonstrating that they have an exceptional degree of expertise in the field. Dr. Jenna Kazil is an exemplary surgical specialist who operates as a general and vascular surgeon who sees patients at the Florida Surgical Clinic from St. Petersburg to Ruskin to Sarasota. Anyone needing a central line placement should contact Dr. Kazil to schedule an appointment today.