Skip to main content

Dialysis removes toxins from the blood when the kidneys cannot. At UMMC we offer these types of dialysis:

  • Hemodialysis is ongoing dialysis (3 to 5 times a week) that cleans your blood, usually in a dialysis center. The hemodialysis access is in your arm.
  • Peritoneal dialysis is ongoing dialysis (daily) that collects waste from the blood by washing the empty space in the abdomen (peritoneal cavity). It can be done from home. The access for this is in your abdomen.

For chronic, or ongoing, dialysis, you may have hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. Our team of vascular surgeons do a procedure to create either type of dialysis access based on your needs and dialysis history.

With hemodialysis, you may initially receive a temporary catheter. It is a tube, about the size of an ink pen, that travels through a vein toward the heart. Temporary catheters can be used for up to 90 days and then must be replaced to lower the risk of infection. Once permanent access is established, you can get rid of the temporary catheter.

What to Know About Hemodialysis

Hemodialysis cleans the blood by cycling your blood through a machine that removes waste and toxins. It then returns the blood to your body.

  • Hemodialysis requires an access portal created by a surgeon. A permanent portal requires minor surgery, usually in your arm, to connect an artery and a vein. The access will be ready in a few weeks to a few months, depending on the type of portal.
  • We can place the hemodialysis access portal via any available artery and vein. Our surgeons evaluate you to determine the best placement for the access portal.
  • The surgical procedure to place the catheter or access takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • While you wait for your permanent access, you may have a temporary catheter (tube), often in your neck. Some people on shorter-term dialysis only have temporary access. It is very important to follow the guidelines to keep your catheter clean to avoid dangerous infections.
  • A dialysis machine and a special filter wash away waste products from your blood and then return the blood to your body.
  • You usually will receive dialysis in a clinical setting, such as a hospital or dialysis clinic. Most patients come to a dialysis clinic 3-5 times a week.

What to Know About Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis lets you perform dialysis at home or while you go about your day. Our surgeons can place the peritoneal catheter via laparoscopic surgery, which provides an option for patients who may have been told that they were inoperable.

Here is how peritoneal dialysis works:

  • A surgeon places an access into the lining of the abdominal wall. You can use this access in about two weeks.
  • You will be able to administer peritoneal dialysis without having to come into a dialysis clinic. Instead, you can do dialysis at home or any other clean place.
  • In peritoneal dialysis, you fill your peritoneal cavity – the open spaces in the abdomen – with special cleansing dialysis fluid and drain it again. The fluid cleans your blood through the internal walls of your abdomen.
  • Peritoneal dialysis options can be continual or via a cycler, which can be used only at night. This option allows some patients to continue working while they are on dialysis.

Contact Us

Appointments or Additional information: 667-214-1592

Referring physicians: 1-800-373-4111

A physician service representative from Consultation and Referral Services will direct your call to the appropriate physician or department.) For more details, please visit our section for referring physicians.

If you are not already seeing someone from the UMMC Division of Transplantation team, please call 410-328-5408.