What is a paracentesis?

Paracentesis is a procedure used to remove excess fluid from the abdominal cavity. The fluid buildup may be caused by infection, inflammation, injury, cirrhosis or cancer. A diagnostic paracentesis is performed to determine the cause of the fluid buildup, while a therapeutic paracentesis is performed to relieve shortness of breath and pain.

Where can I schedule this exam?

Paracentesis can be scheduled at: 

How should I prepare for my procedure?
  • If you are taking warfarin (Coumadin), you will need to have an INR and Platelet count drawn the day before or the day of the procedure, prior to arriving.
  • If you are taking blood thinners, you will need to hold the medication prior to your procedure. 
  • Do not eat or drink for 4 hours before your appointment.
  • Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment time.
  • You will need a driver/ride home after your first procedure; subsequent procedures a driver is optional.
How long will my procedure take?

Paracentesis procedures typically take 45-60 minutes, with an additional 30-60 minutes monitoring post-procedure.

What happens during my procedure?

You will be positioned on a cushioned table. The needle insertion site will be cleansed and draped with sterile towels. A numbing medicine will be applied to your abdomen. Once the area is numb, the needle will be inserted and the fluid will be removed

What happens after my procedure?

If this was a diagnostic procedure, a sample of fluid will be sent to a laboratory for examination. The findings will be sent to your healthcare provider who will then contact you to discuss the results.

You will be monitored for 30-60 minutes after your procedure.

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