Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC)

Removal and Care After

ExitCare ImageA peripherally inserted catheter (PICC) is removed when it is no longer needed, when it is clotted, or when it may be infected.


  • The removal of a PICC is usually painless. Removing the tape that holds the PICC in place may be the most discomfort you have.

  • A physicians order needs to be obtained to have the PICC removed.

  • A PICC can be removed in the hospital or in an outpatient setting.

  • Never remove or take out the PICC yourself. Only a trained clinical professional, such as a PICC nurse, should remove the PICC.

  • If a PICC is suspected to be infected, the PICC tip is sent to the lab for culture.


  • When the PICC is out, pressure is applied at the insertion site to prevent bleeding. An antibiotic ointment may be applied to the insertion site. A dry, sterile gauze is then taped over the insertion site. This dressing should stay on for 24 hours.

  • After the 24 hours is up, the dressing may be removed. The PICC insertion site is very small. A small scab may develop over the insertion site. It is okay to wash the site gently with soap and water. Be careful to not remove or pick the scab off. After washing, gently pat the site dry. You do not need to put another dressing over the insertion site after you wash it.

  • Avoid heavy, strenuous physical activity for 24 hours after the PICC is removed. This includes things like:

  • Weight lifting.

  • Strenuous yard work.

  • Any physical activity with repetitive arm movement.


Call or see your caregiver as soon as possible if you develop the following conditions in the arm in which the PICC was inserted:

  • Swelling or puffiness.

  • Increasing tenderness or pain.


You develop any of the following conditions in the arm that had the PICC:

  • Numbness or tingling in your fingers, hand, or arm.

  • You arm has a bluish color and it is cold to the touch.

  • Redness around the insertion site or a red-streak that goes up your arm.

  • Any type of drainage from the PICC insertion site. This includes drainage such as:

  • Bleeding from the insertion site. (If this happens, apply firm, direct pressure to the PICC insertion site with a clean towel.)

  • Drainage that is yellow or tan in color.

  • You have an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.