What is a paracentesis?

Paracentesis is a procedure that utilizes x-rays or ultrasound and a needle to remove excess fluid from the abdomen.

What can you expect during your paracentesis exam?

If a large amount of fluid is being removed, you are positioned face-up on an exam table with your head raised.

The area of the skin in which the needle will be inserted is cleaned and sterilized. The radiologist or radiologist assistant numbs the abdomen and carefully inserts the fine paracentesis needle to remove the fluid. Ultrasound or x-ray images are used to guide the procedure.

A sample of the fluid may be sent to the laboratory to determine the cause of the excess fluid.

Paracentesis takes 20 to 30 minutes.

How can you prepare for your paracentesis exam?

  • Tell your physician about any medications you are taking (especially blood thinners, such as aspirin or ibuprofen), allergies to anesthetics or bleeding problems.
  • Inform your physician if you might be pregnant.
  • Undergo blood tests, if required. Sometimes these tests are performed to determine if you have bleeding or clotting problems.

What to expect after your paracentesis procedure?

  • The catheter insertion site may be a little tender for a day or two.
  • Avoid any strenuous activity for several days.
  • You may resume light activity. (Walking and sitting)
  • If you experience symptoms of dizziness, increased abdominal pain or cramping, blood in the urine, bleeding from the Paracentesis site, redness or swelling of the abdomen, fever or chills contact your physician or go to the nearest Emergency Room.