What to Expect With Dialysis Access Surgery

Our board-certified physicians at Vein and Vascular Solutions NYC, in the Midwood area of Brooklyn, New York, are experts in numerous vascular and endovascular surgical procedures, including dialysis access management. You can rely on our team to provide top-rated, highly effective care that’s always patient-focused.

What is dialysis?

When healthy, your kidneys filter various toxins, salts, and excess fluids from your blood to help maintain a balanced level of certain naturally occurring elements (potassium, sodium, and bicarbonate) your body requires to function normally. Once filtered by your kidneys, the surplus substances are discarded via urine.

However, if your kidneys fail to function adequately, these wastes and fluids build up in your bloodstream and eventually become toxic. In advanced renal disease or kidney failure, your medical care team may recommend an artificial filtration therapy called dialysis to remove these harmful substances.

During dialysis treatments, a machine filters these wastes from your bloodstream. Usually performed at least three times a week, sometimes more, dialysis takes about four hours per session.

What is dialysis access?

Before you begin dialysis, we must create an access point or entrance into a blood vessel so that blood can be sent through the dialysis machine’s filtration system and back into your body in a continuous loop-like fashion over several hours.

The access point procedure, considered minor surgery, is performed by a surgeon who specializes in the circulatory (vascular) system. For convenience, the dialysis access is typically placed in your non-dominant arm or wrist.

Depending on your circumstances, our team at Vein and Vascular Solutions NYC may recommend an AV fistula or an AV graft for long-term dialysis access.

What should I expect during and after the dialysis access procedure?

Your surgeon discusses the procedure in detail and provides instructions regarding aftercare before scheduling your surgery. Generally, however, it’s an outpatient procedure that’s performed several weeks before you start treatments so the access site can heal before you begin dialysis.

You can expect to be awake but sedated during the surgery and should arrange for someone to drive you home afterward. Most patients report mild tenderness at the site afterward, which typically resolves after a few days.

At Vein and Vascular Solutions NYC, our surgeons continue to manage care of the access point as necessary to ensure adequate blood flow through the site during your treatment course, which may continue for many months.

Schedule a visit today for further information about dialysis access surgery or any of the services we offer at Vein and Vascular Solutions NYC. We’re here to help!

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