Step 3: Going to See the Surgeon
Why do I need to go see the surgeon before my surgery is scheduled?
The surgeon is an expert at making vascular accesses. He or she needs to see you before surgery to make sure you are ready. Be sure you know where to go for the visit. Allow plenty of time to make it to your visit. Take a list of questions with you to ask about what to expect when you have the surgery to make your vascular access.
At your appointment, your surgeon will review your vessel map. The map will help the surgeon see what type of access is best for you and where it should be placed. The surgeon will also record your medical history and check the blood vessels in your arms.
He or she will ask you about:
- Your health
- IV lines you have had
- Your medicines
- Other surgeries you have had
These are questions most people have about their surgery. Your surgeon can answer these for you:
- Should I take all my medicines before I come in for my surgery?
- How long will I be at the hospital or surgery center when I have my surgery?
- Will I need to be put to sleep for the surgery?
- Will I have to stay in the hospital overnight?
- Should someone come with me?
- Can I drive myself home after my surgery?
- Will you give me something for pain to take home with me?
- Can I use my arm after I have surgery?
- Will the arm with my access look different?
Ask your surgeon to:
- Talk with your dialysis care team so they know the plans for your surgery
- Send your care team a report from your visit
- Give you a copy of the report, too
How can I stay healthy before surgery?
Once the surgeon has seen you, he or she will make sure you have a date for surgery scheduled. It may be a few weeks before you go in for surgery. You should take good care of yourself until then.
- Go to all your dialysis treatments.
- Stay on the dialysis machine for your full treatment time.
- Stick to the diet made especially for you.
- Take your medications.
- Get enough rest.
- Try to exercise every day.
- Take care of the veins in your arms.
- Let your care team know the date your surgery is scheduled.
My Visit to the Surgeon
If the visit 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 the visit is not on your dialysis day:
- You are good to go.
- If you have questions, ask the dialysis care team to help you.
- Step 1: Making and Access Plan
- Step 2: Finding the Best Place for My Access
- Step 3: Going to See the Surgeon
- Step 4: Going for Surgery
- Step 5: Waiting for my Access to Mature/Heal
- Step 6: Using my Access
- Step 7: Removing My Catheter
- Step 8: The One-Minute Access Check
- Lifeline for a Lifetime (PDF Guide)
- Lifeline for a Lifetime (Spanish PDF Guide)