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Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter Placement

What Is A Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter?
A peritoneal dialysis catheter is a small, flexible length of tubing with a pigtail at one end tunneled behind the six-pack abdominal muscle (rectus) and into the lower abdomen to facilitate regular at-home peritoneal dialysis. The washing of the abdomen with these large, sterile bags of electrolytes helps to filtrate the body’s blood, similar to the kidney.

How Long Does It Take To Have Placed?
In most patients, the procedure itself takes 15-25 minutes. This does not include any preoperative organizing, anesthesia initiated, or recovery time, which can add up to 2-3 hours. Occasionally, additional procedures may be needed; your doctor will tell you more about this if necessary.

Does It Hurt?
Usually, only 2-3 small incisions are required to place the tubing (not including the small tubing exit site). These incision sites are closed with small, dissolving sutures beneath the skin. They also have surgical-grade skin glue you can see on the outside that will flake off on its own in 2-3 weeks. Since this is done with a minimally invasive approach, most patients need only Tylenol for a few days.

Can I shower or bathe the tub after having it placed?
Two dressings, one medium-sized and one larger, are placed in the operating room, one on top of the medium-sized dressing. The dressing can be left in place for up to a week. As long as it appears well adhered to the skin, showering can start the next day.

When Will I Learn To Manage It? When Will The Dressing Be Removed?
Once it is placed, your coordinating nephrologist/nephrology office will be contacted, and that office will call to coordinate a follow-up appointment in 3-7 days. The dressing will be removed at that time, and the care and management of the catheter will be reviewed. The earliest it can be used for dialysis is usually one week after placement.