sterile technique question for implanted port accessing

Specialties Infusion


Hi, there. I've been a nurse for a minute now, but I've only done one portacath access, and I live in dread of having to do one again. So I've got maybe a stupid question for sterile technique, accessing implanted ports:

Once I've disinfected skin (chloraprep is what my agency uses) and let it dry for 2 minutes, can I then touch the skin again with my sterile gloves, to feel the hub again, just before sticking the needle in? 

My procedural training basically says, "palpate skin to find the reservoir while wearing nonsterile gloves, then disinfect the skin; allow to dry for two minutes, then [I'm sterile at this point, of course, wearing sterile gloves] stick the needle in." [I've skipped the part about setting up my supplies using sterile technique, just to focus on needle insertion.]





1,049 Posts

Specializes in Vascular Access.

That is why you are PALPATING initially with non-sterile gloves on, so that you only have to stabilize the port's body with one hand, while accessing it with the other hand.  Yes, with sterile gloves on, you technically can touch the port, but I'd only stabilize the body.  Why would you need to touch the septum after it was cleansed, when you already should have a good perspective of how the port lies under the skin?  

Mr. Murse

403 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care/Vascular Access.

I don't see how it would be possible to access some ports without touching the skin again. You'll come across many ports that need to be stabilized with one hand to get the needle in, and you'll occasionally see ports that have migrated to their side over time and need to be turned slightly so the reservoir is oriented correctly to access it.

So in short: yes, you can def touch the skin again with your non-dominate hand (after you've cleaned the area thoroughly of course) to stabilize or orient the reservoir while accessing it with the needle in your dominate hand.

Lovely!  ty.


Yeah, looking back at this question 7 months after writing it, it seems logical to me that I can touch with sterile glove.



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