What is dialysis?

Dialysis takes over the function of your diseased kidneys. Your kidneys’ primary function is to filter your blood to create urine and help maintain fluid and electrolyte balance. When your kidneys fail, you need dialysis to stay alive.

Though kidney failure can come on suddenly (acute), for most people, it develops gradually and continues over time (chronic), requiring regular dialysis.

During dialysis, you’re hooked up to a machine that circulates blood out from your body, removes excess fluid and electrolytes through a dialysate solution, and then returns the clean blood back to your body.

You need a reliable and sturdy dialysis access port for this process. At the Vascular Institute of Arizona, Dr. Balraj specializes in vascular surgery and provides the port you need for safe and regular dialysis treatments.

What is dialysis access?

Dialysis access refers to the port that transports blood from your body to the dialysis machine and then back to your body. Your dialysis access can be a:


For fistula dialysis access, Dr. Balraj creates the port by joining an artery and vein in your arm. Dr. Balraj performs more than 150 dialysis access fistulas a year.


For a dialysis access graft, Dr. Balraj places a small, flexible tube at the site of your access point to join the artery and vein.


A catheter is a soft tube placed in a vein in your neck. You may need a catheter for dialysis access while you wait for your fistula or graft dialysis access to heal.

What happens during dialysis access?

Dr. Balraj takes a patient-centered approach to care and customizes your dialysis access procedure to meet your specific needs. He can perform your dialysis access procedure at the office or the hospital, depending on how complex the procedure will be.

What happens after dialysis access?

Dr. Balraj provides specific activity guidelines following the placement of your dialysis access. These guidelines focus on ensuring that your access port heals correctly and that infections and blood clots are prevented.

Though you might be anxious to use your dialysis access port, it takes 6-12 weeks for the area to heal. Dr. Balraj schedules regular follow-up appointments to monitor your healing and lets you know when it’s safe to use your port.

He also has you return to the office periodically so that he can monitor your dialysis access port to make sure it functions as it should.

Call the Vascular Institute of Arizona today or book your dialysis access consultation online.