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Step 4: Going for Surgery


Lifeline for a Lifetime

Step 4: Going for Surgery

What is going to happen when I go for surgery?

Going in for surgery is your next step. This is when you will have a fistula made or a graft placed. Your surgery to get your access could take place at a surgery center or hospital. Make sure you know how to get there and give yourself enough time to do so. The surgery team will tell you what to do before you come in for surgery.

When you go for surgery you will be seen by several people on the team. Some of the questions they ask you will be the same. Try not to get upset by all of this—they want to make sure you are safe. Here are some of the things you need to know to be prepared.

What do I need to do to get ready for surgery?

Make a list of your medicines to take with you. The surgery team will need to know if you take:

  • A blood thinner
  • Medicine for a heart problem, diabetes, pain, anxiety, depression, or psychiatric illness
  • Over-the-counter medicines like herbs, vitamins, or minerals
  • Home remedies
  • Tell the surgery team other health information such as if you:
  • Have allergies
  • Have a pacemaker or other heart device
  • Have sleep apnea
  • Have had a problem with anesthesia
  • Are pregnant
  • Are allergic to latex
  • Smoke
  • Drink alcohol
  • Do not agree to take blood transfusions

When is My Surgery Scheduled?

If your surgery is on your dialysis day:

  • Your dialysis care team will help you work this out.
  • You will need to do both.
  • You may need to change your dialysis day.
  • Your care team will help you make the change.

If your surgery is not on your dialysis day:

  • You are good to go.
  • If you have questions, ask the care team to help you.

On the day of your surgery

Take off nail polish and artificial nails. Wear glasses, not your contacts. Do not put on lotion, cream, deodorant, powder, makeup or perfume.

Make sure you have the contact information for the surgery team and your dialysis care team.

After your surgery

You might have to go to the recovery room for a while. Before you leave to go home, a member of the surgery team will give you:

  • A handout on how you can take care of your access
  • A prescription for pain medicine
  • The date and time to come back to have your access checked

Also, before you leave, ask the surgery team to:

  • Send a report to the dialysis care team with a drawing of your access
  • Give you a copy of the report

Here are some of the things you need to know after your surgery.

What do I need to do while my surgery site is healing?

Do not let the area around your incision get wet. Your surgeon will tell you how to take care of your surgery site. Make sure you understand what he/she wants you to do and for how long you should do it.

Tell your dialysis care team that you have had your surgery. Ask them to check the site to make sure it is healing properly.

Ask the dialysis care team how to contact them and the surgeon during business hours and after hours.

Let your dialysis care team know:

  • If your sites are bleeding or leaking other fluid.
  • If your surgery site is getting red, is hot, or starts to swell.
  • If you start having more pain.

Let the surgeon know:

  • If your hand starts to hurt a lot, gets numb, becomes weak, or feels cold.