Paracentesis

Paracentesis is a procedure in which a needle is inserted through the abdominal wall to remove fluid that has built up in the abdominal cavity (ascites). It may be used as a test (diagnostic paracentesis) or as a treatment (therapeutic paracentesis).

Paracentesis may be done to:

  • Collect a fluid sample from the abdominal cavity to help determine the cause of ascites (diagnostic).
  • Diagnose infection in the ascitic fluid (diagnostic).
  • Remove a large amount of fluid from the abdominal cavity when the fluid is causing discomfort or affecting the function of the kidneys or intestines (therapeutic).

Last Updated: January 22, 2010

Author: Monica Rhodes

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology

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