If you need dialysis, your doctor may recommend a peritoneal dialysis catheter. Dialysis is a method of
filtering the blood of waste products when the kidneys fail. The two main types of dialysis are
hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Your nephrologist will discuss the pros and cons of each and help
you decide which is better for you.
At VSA, we perform peritoneal dialysis catheter insertion. This is a fairly straightforward procedure to place a thin plastic tube into your abdominal cavity. Under the direction of your nephrologist and the dialysis center staff, fluid will be run through the tube into your belly where it will absorb waste products. The fluid is then drained back out, carrying the waste with it. The process can often be done at night while you sleep, in your own home.
The surgery to place the catheter is done as an outpatient procedure, meaning you will not have to stay in a hospital. It takes about an hour, and you will be asleep during the surgery. Recovery is usually fairly rapid, and most people are back to their usual activities within a day or two.
Take care not to pull on the catheter, as it takes a couple of weeks for the body to anchor it in place. If it is dislodged, the surgery will have to be redone. Any issues with the surgical incisions should prompt a call to our office. Otherwise, the dialysis center staff would prefer to take over management of the catheter immediately. Usually they will wait 2-3 weeks for the surgery to heal before using the catheter, but occasionally arrangements for a “rapid start” can be made if necessary.