What is Paracentesis?
Paracentesis is a procedure that removes abdominal fluid buildup known as ascites. This buildup may result from infection, inflammation, injury, or issues. The ascites is removed with a long, thin needle that is inserted through the belly. The fluid is sent to a lab to determine the cause. Paracentesis can also remove fluid and relieve abdominal pressure or pain in people with cancer or cirrhosis.
Why is it Done?
Paracentesis is conducted to:
- Determine what is causing abdominal fluid buildup.
- Diagnose infection in the peritoneal fluid.
- Check for cancer, such as liver cancer.
- Remove fluid that is causing pain or difficulty breathing or affecting kidney or the bowel function.
- Check for damage after an abdominal injury.
How to Prepare?
Before paracentesis is done, make sure you let your doctor know if:
- You are on medication.
- You have bleeding problems or take blood thinners, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or warfarin (Coumadin).
- You have medical allergies, including anesthetics.
- You are, or might be, pregnant.
Other blood tests may be done before the paracentesis to make sure you do not have bleeding or clotting problems. You will also be asked to sign a consent form.