Hemodialysis is the most common method used to treat advanced and permanent kidney failure. It involves a coordinated effort from you, your family and your entire health care team, including your nephrologist, dialysis nurse, dialysis technician, dietician and social worker. In hemodialysis, your blood passes through a machine with a special filter, a few ounces at a time, to remove excess fluid and wastes.

The procedure, done at home or at a dialysis center, usually takes about three or four hours per session and typically occurs three times per week. For hemodialysis to occur, a special site, called an access, must be surgically created in the arm, leg or near the collarbone. These access sites are used to remove blood from the body and return it after the filtration process has been completed.

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