Dialysis Fistulas Surgery | MedStar Health

Connecting an artery to a vein to create good blood flow for dialysis treatments

Dialysis cleans and filters your blood in a machine that is connected to your blood vessels with two tubes. One method used to help your blood to flow freely through the tubes is to create a fistula.

A fistula is created by surgically attaching a vein to an artery, which allows the vein to enlarge and become thicker, like an artery. This type of access is known to have fewer complications and last longer than catheters or grafts.

Our Vascular and Endovascular Program allows surgeons to work with kidney specialists to determine the best dialysis access for your unique and complex conditions. Our doctors work at multiple locations, meaning you can get treatment close to home.


You may be asked to not eat or drink before the surgery. If you are taking any medications, ask your doctor if you should take them the day of your procedure. You will receive a sedative and a local anesthetic, but you likely will not require general anesthesia.

Your doctor will make a small incision in your arm and connect a portion of your artery to a vein. The incision will be closed and covered with a bandage. You will be taken to a recovery area and monitored for several hours.

You will likely be able to return home the day of the procedure, but someone will need to drive you. The fistula may take several weeks to fully enlarge, and your doctor may recommend special exercises to increase blood flow.



A fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses a continuous X-ray beam passed through the body to create real-time, moving images of your internal structures.

Our locations

Distance from Change locationEnter your location

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

5601 Loch Raven Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar St Mary's Hospital

25500 Point Lookout Rd.
Leonardtown, MD 20650

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

3800 Reservoir Rd. NW
Washington, DC, 20007

MedStar Montgomery Medical Center

18101 Prince Philip Dr.
Olney, MD 20832

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

7503 Surratts Rd.
Clinton, MD 20735

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net. If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.