What is it?

Why is it done?

  • A paracentesis is performed to remove excess peritoneal fluid and to diagnose what is causing the excess fluid.

How is it performed?

  • Typically you are positioned supine (on your back) on the stretcher. 
  • The provider uses an ultrasound probe to determine the best spot for needle placement on your abdomen. 
  • The skin around the procedure site is cleaned and a local numbing medicine (anesthetic) is injected into the skin.
  • A catheter is placed through the skin and abdominal wall into the peritoneal cavity.
  • Fluid is removed through the catheter using suction or vacuum assistance. 
  • The needle is removed and the area is bandaged.
  • The fluid may be sent to a laboratory for testing (peritoneal fluid analysis). 

What should I expect?

  • You may be asked to hold certain medications in preparation of your procedure. 
  • You may feel a brief, sharp sting when the numbing medicine (anesthetic) is given. When the paracentesis catheter is put into your belly, you may feel a temporary sharp pain or pressure. You may feel dizzy or lightheaded if a large amount of fluid is taken out. Tell your provider if you do not feel well during the test. 

What is my recovery time?

  • Typically any symptoms you experience during or after your procedure should dissipate in 1-2 hours. 
  • Avoid strenuous activity for 48 hours. 
  • The bandage may be removed in 24 hours. Some fluid leakage from the site may be experienced, if the drainage becomes cloudy or the site becomes reddened; notify your provider. 
  • If you develop increased abdominal pain post procedure, seek immediate medical attention. 

Possible Risks/Complications:

  • Although generally considered a low-risk intervention, complications of paracentesis include infection, bleeding, pain, or injury to adjacent structures.