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Your blood is run through a filter that acts as an artificial kidney. The filter removes the extra fluid, chemicals, and waste from your blood. The cleaned blood is then pumped back into your body. Two needles are inserted for every treatment. The place they are inserted is called the "access." A surgeon may connect two of your blood vessels to create an access. This is called a "fistula." Connecting the vessels causes the vein to get larger and stronger. The dialysis needles are inserted into that vein. Another option is to connect a plastic tube between two blood vessels. This is called a "graft." The needles are inserted into this artificial vein. In urgent situations, a tube -- called a "catheter" -- may be placed temporarily into a large vein in your neck. The tube has two branches, one to carry blood out of the body and the other to return it. Your physician will make a recommendation based on the condition of your veins and other considerations.
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