Avoiding a Cutdown—Use of the Transcatheter Extractor in Removal of Tunneled Dialysis Catheters


Address correspondence to: Vandana Dua Niyyar, MD, Dialysis Access Center of Atlanta, 552 Ponce de Leon Ave, Atlanta, GA 30308, Tel.: 404-872-3655, Fax: 404-875-6328, or e-mail: vniyyar@emory.edu.


The purpose of our study was to evaluate the use of a transcatheter extractor (TCE) device in removing cuffed tunneled dialysis catheters without a surgical cutdown. We report eight cases where a TCE was used to successfully remove cuffed tunneled dialysis catheters through the exit site that would have otherwise required a second incision. The cuff was above the clavicle in all cases and varied 3–5 cm from the exit site. The method included inserting the device over the catheter through the exit site and engaging it over the cuff. A to-and-fro motion was then used in the same plane as the catheter to dissect the cuff from the surrounding tissue. Once the cuff was freed, the catheter was removed easily without resistance. The fibrous cuff was removed intact in all cases. We conclude that the use of this device may help avoid a cutdown and minimize trauma to the patient. It is an effective technique to remove tunneled dialysis catheters and is particularly useful in catheters with ingrown cuffs further from the exit site.