What is dialysis?

Your kidneys perform an important function, filtering wastes and excess fluid from your body so the rest of your organs and tissues stay as healthy as possible. Dialysis is a medical treatment that’s used to remove waste materials as well as excess salts and fluids from your body when your kidneys can no longer do their work. Although dialysis treatments may sound scary, the procedure is straightforward, and many patients who undergo dialysis lead active and productive lives. Dialysis does require you to follow a strict treatment schedule and you’ll also have to take medications. You may also have to make changes to your diet. Before beginning dialysis and throughout treatment, you’ll work closely with your healthcare team to manage your treatment so you can enjoy the best health and the most “normal” lifestyle possible.

What happens during dialysis?

Dialysis uses a special filtering system to remove wastes from your blood. Blood leaves and re-enters your body through an access site on your skin. Before your dialysis treatment beings, your blood pressure and weight will be measured and recorded and the skin at the access site will be carefully cleansed. Two needles are placed into the access site and a tube is attached to each needle and to the dialysis machine, called a dialyzer. Your blood travels from the access site through the first tube and into the dialyzer where a special filter removes waste. Then the “clean’ blood re-enters your body through the second tube and needle. Your blood pressure and heart rate will be monitored during treatment to ensure the process is proceeding smoothly. When your treatment is complete, the needles will be removed and a pressure bandage will be placed over the site to prevent bleeding. Your weight may be measured before you leave the office, and then you can go back to your normal activities. Each dialysis session takes from three to five hours, and most people have treatment about three times per week.

Are there any side effects to dialysis?

Some patients report feeling slightly nauseous during treatment and others may have some abdominal cramping as fluids are removed from the blood. If you experience either of these symptoms, let the care team know and they can adjust your treatment to help alleviate them.

Learn more about dialysis and the treatments and services we offer.

As part of the Southeastern Massachusetts Dialysis Group, the Taunton Regional Dialysis Center is dedicated to providing top-quality, compassionate care using state-of-the-art equipment in a comfortable environment that’s designed for our patients’ special medical needs. Dr. Allan Lauer and Dr. Daniel Bohl provide comprehensive care for every patient, ensuring all phases of treatment are customized to address each patient’s unique needs. If you have kidney disease, understanding your healthcare options starts with a phone call to our offices to schedule an evaluation and consultation. Give us a call today at 508-828-5986 or use our online contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.