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Caring for your incision

The dressing (bandage) over your incision should be kept clean and dry. The dressing should be removed 24-48 hours after your procedure. Do not wait longer than 2 days to remove the dressing. Once the dressing has been removed, you may bathe or shower. Do not rub the incision with a cloth towel – PAT IT DRY.

You may have a slight amount of bleeding or oozing from the incision for the first few days. If you experience this, you may put a light dressing over the incision so that the bleeding does not stain your clothing.

What to expect

After the operation, your arm will swell and be bruised. The swelling and bruising will go away after a few weeks. ELEVATING YOUR ARM above your heart will decrease your pain and swelling. The doctor will write you a prescription for pain medication after the surgery.


• Avoid putting any pressure on your arm or swinging it around
• Rest, follow your diet and take your medications
• Never wear tight sleeves, a watch, bracelets and/or a belt over your graft/fistula site
• Never carry heavy loads (purse or shopping bags) across your graft/fistula
• DO NOT sleep on your graft/fistula
• DO NOT have your blood pressure taken on your graft/fistula arm
• Never use your graft/fistula for blood draws or IV drugs
• New fistula patients may be given a rubber ball to exercise with


• Cold and aching hand
• Extremely numb, weak or paralyzed hand
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