There are different types of central lines but they all serve a similar function.
The main purpose of a central line is to provide venous access for things that can be provided through a regular IV.
Examples of what a central line can provide include nutrition, large amounts of fluids for resuscitation, medications, antibiotics and advanced monitoring.
A PICC line is a form of a central line that is placed by ultrasound usually in the upper arm.
A Central Venous Catheter is a central line placed in the chest or neck. The decision on which central line is done depends on the needs and urgency. Both are done using sterile techniques and do not require going to the operating room.