A paracentesis is a procedure performed to remove excess fluid (ascites) from the abdomen through a small catheter. The collected fluid can be sent for analysis to determine what is causing the excess fluid.
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.
Although generally considered a low-risk intervention, complications of paracentesis include infection, bleeding, pain, or injury to adjacent structures.