Dialysis Access

A carefully created access point dramatically reduces some of the biggest risks of the dialysis procedure, such as clotting and infection.

What Is Dialysis Access?

If you are suffering from renal failure and your kidneys are not adequately cleaning your blood, you may require hemodialysis. Hemodialysis is a process in which your blood is removed from your body, cleaned by a machine and then returned to your body. To effectively and safely remove and replace your blood requires dialysis access, or the creation of an entry point that allows the blood to flow smoothly between your body and the machine. 


What Is It Needed?

An ordinary IV is not sufficient to allow the soft tubes connected to the dialysis machine to access your blood and supply a clean blood supply to your body. Dialysis requires a special access point that can take several weeks to mature before usage. A carefully created access point dramatically reduces some of the biggest risks of the dialysis procedure, such as clotting and infection.

Doctors in surgery

What Can I Expect from Dialysis Access?

There are three types of dialysis access points. The most common is a fistula. In a fistula, the doctor joins an artery and a vein, allowing more blood to flow into the vein, strengthening it to make needle insertions for dialysis easier. It typically takes a few weeks to form a strong fistula. If the surgeon is not able to create a fistula, he can connect the artery and vein with an artificial tube, also known as a graft, and insertions can be performed into the tube. You may be given instructions for special exercises to assist with enlargement of your access. 

In cases where there is no time to create a fistula or graft, the surgeon can insert a temporary catheter.

Over time, dialysis access may require maintenance and procedures to minimize the risk that the access could clot or become narrowed over time. Narrowed sites in the veins may be treated with balloon angioplasty which dilates the dialysis access, and possibly stents which hold open the access after enlarging. 

At Surgical Services of Athens, we perform placement of arteriovenous access, including placement of new access, revision of access, angiography and stenting to assist with the special needs of renal failure patients.

Schedule Your Dialysis Access in Alabama with Surgical Services of Athens

If you’re a resident of Athens, Huntsville, Madison or surrounding areas, put your trust in us for all your surgical needs. Our years of experience and knowledge of modern surgical techniques provide our patients with the best possible outcomes. For dialysis access or endovascular procedures in Alabama, call us at 256-216-6500 or fill out the contact form below to schedule a consultation.

Conditions Treated


Contact us today by calling (256) 216-6500 or submit your information below, and we will contact you to discuss the best surgical options for your health and wellness.


We're happy to answer any questions you may have, feel free to call us at
(804) 775-4559