PICC Line Removal

by Ariela Paulsen
Mighty Well | PICCPerfect PICC line cover | PICC line removal

When getting a PICC line, we often worry about how it will feel getting placed and what life will be like once it is in.  But what about removing a PICC line?

We’ve chatted with our Friends who have been there, so that you can feel confident when it’s time for your PICC line removal:

does it hurt? 

Not at all.  You blink and it’s over, and you don’t even know it’s happening.  They don’t even have to numb you.  It feels just like a dressing change — they take everything off and slowly pull the line out.  Then they apply pressure for a few minutes and put a bandaid on.  It takes about ten minutes tops!

how does it feel afterwards?

Your arm might be a little sore, and you may notice some shoulder tension from readjusting how you subconsciously carry yourself.  There might also be a little bleeding afterwards, for example if you lift something heavy, but usually not.  You have to wait 24 hours to shower or submerge your arm.  

will it scar?

Yes — the scar looks different for everyone, but can look like a small belly button on your arm.

what are some reasons it might be removed? 

Most often, you will have your PICC line removed when you no longer need treatment. Some doctors also like to remove PICC lines after about a year to give your body a break, and perhaps go in the other arm.  If you have complications, they may also end up removing the PICC line and putting in a new one.

where do I have to go to get it done?

This is something that many nurses can do, even if your hospital doesn’t have vascular access as a specialty.

If you’re nervous, ask if you can bring someone back with you to talk to you and distract — it’ll be over before you even notice!

Getting ready for your first PICC line?  Check out our guides on PICC Placement, Caring For a PICC Line, and Preventing PICC Line Complications.

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