What is it?
A paracentesis, also called an abdominal tap, takes out fluid in the abdominal cavity, the area between the spine and belly wall. A needle and syringe inserted into the abdomen is used to extract the fluid.
What is for?
A paracentesis can find out the cause of fluid buildup in this space or find out if the buildup is infected. A paracentesis is sometimes done to relieve belly pain.
How to prepare
- Tell your doctor about your medical history and medications you are taking
- Before the procedure, you will be asked to empty your bladder. If you are having problems urinating, a catheter may be placed in your bladder to drain urine during the procedure.
- Rapid drop in blood pressure
- Structural injuries within the abdomen
What happens during?
- An I.V. line is used to supply fluids and medications
- You will be awake
- Ultrasound may be used to show images inside your abdomen. The images show precisely where the excess fluid is located and where the needle should be inserted.
- Anesthesia is used to numb the area of the incision site
- Once the area is numb, the needle is inserted and fluid and extracted into the needle
- If only a sample of fluid is needed, the needle is removed after only a small amount of fluid is obtained
- A syringe or tube may be attached to the needle to collect and drain large amounts of fluid
- Once the necessary amount of fluid is drained, the needle is removed. If a syringe or tube is used, those are also removed.
- Pressure is used at the incision site to prevent bleeding or fluid leakage
- Bandaging is placed over the incision site
What happens after?
- If a sample of fluid was needed, the sample is sent to a lab for analysis
- You will be in a recovery room for approximately 1 to 2 hours before being sent home
- You should limit activity for about 24 hours after the procedure
- You should be able to take the bandage off the incision site 24 hours following the procedure
- Regularly check the incision site for signs of infection
- A fever of 100°F or higher
- Bleeding or fluid leakage from the incision site
- Bloody urine
- Dizziness, fainting or lightheadedness
- Infection at the incision site
- Pain that doesn’t go away despite using pain medications
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach pain not related to the incision site
- Swelling in the abdomen