PD Catheter Access: Placing the Catheter

Your kidneys filter and remove waste from your blood. When they fail, this work must be done some other way. Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a treatment that can take over when your kidneys stop working. The peritoneum is the membrane lining the inside of the abdomen (belly). PD uses the lining of your abdomen as a filter for your blood. Before PD can be done, an opening into this lining (an access) must be made. The access for PD is a soft tube called a catheter placed into your abdomen.

Technician and patient

The catheter is a soft tube placed near your navel. The catheter is capped when not in use.

Placing the catheter

  • A nurse or anesthesiologist gives you medication so you don’t feel pain during surgery.

  • A small opening is made just below your navel. The catheter is placed through this opening.

  • One end of the catheter sits in your abdomen. A few inches of the other end comes out an exit site in your skin. This end is clamped off and capped when it’s not being used.

  • Typically, a portion of the catheter goes through a "tunnel" made underneath the skin before it enters your abdomen. This "tunnel" helps prevent infections from entering the abdomen, and it anchors the catheter to keep it from falling out.