Supporting women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer

PICC lines

By J2

I had a PICC and on balance it beats hunting for a vein hands down. I was sensitive to the dressing used to cover the PICC and my skin became inflamed but otherwise it was fine. It took about 30 mins to install: nurse gets gowned up, you lie on a bed, anaesthaetic cream is applied and I think an injection, she moves an ultrasound over your arm,the ultrasound identifies a suitable vein for access and then they start the process of threading it through. you go for a chest x-ray to check the position - in my case it needed adjustment after as it was not in quite the right spot but that only took a few minutes and was not painful.

Afterwards you will find that holding a hot water bottle under the arm and taking paracetamol or similar will help it settle. Taking it out is really easy: you take a deep breath, exhale and it comes out in almost one or two pulls! then just keep it dry till it heals over.