What is the buttonhole technique?

-Answered by Patricia McCarley, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC, CNN VP Strategic Quality Operations, Fresenius Kidney Care

The buttonhole technique is a method that can be used when inserting dialysis needles in an AVFistula. This technique allows a person to insert needles into the exact same holes on the fistula for each dialysis session, creating a tunneled track for the needle. The buttonhole technique can be less painful as it allows the use of dull needles rather than piercing the skin with sharp needles each dialysis session. Many home hemodialysis patients prefer the buttonhole technique for self-cannulation, as it allows them to follow a needle tunnel. If you are being cannulated with buttonhole technique, ask your care team how to practice good infection control to reduce the risk of infection of your buttonhole sites.