As soon as you know that dialysis is in your future, you’ll need to discuss an access with your physician and with us, your vascular surgeons. Time is a significant deciding factor in the choice of access that will be created, along with the size and health of your veins.
With a minor surgical procedure, Dr. Tanquilut or Dr. Pradhan will create a portal that will be used to remove and return your blood during dialysis. Either a fistula or a graft will be created, increasing the blood flow and strengthening the vein to allow an even greater flow, making dialysis efficient and effective.
What is a fistula?
A fistula is created from your own tissues, joining an artery to a vein. For best maturation and functioning, your fistula surgery should take place about 6 months before you begin dialysis. Fistulas are preferred whenever possible as they tend to be more durable and are less inclined to infection and complications.
What is a graft?
A graft is an artificial tube, made of plastic or synthetic materials, that is used to join your artery to your vein. When dialysis needs to begin quickly, a graft can heal within 3 to 6 weeks. If your veins are too small or blocked by scarring, a graft will be your best option.
What is the Ellipsys Access System?
Vascular Specialists is the leading provider of this new FDA-approved system. You can click here to discover the details of this non-surgical option.
After surgery, you will be encouraged to strengthen your veins by squeezing a stress ball. Proper care of your access is vital to its long term health. Complications can include:
- “steal”, when the fistula causes too much blood to flow away from your hand
- formation of an aneurysm in the access
Vascular Specialists will monitor the health and viability of your access regularly, ensuring that your dialysis goes as smoothly as possible.
If you have any questions, call our office at 815-824-4406. We will be happy to address your concerns!