(Ascites Fluid Tap; Abdominal Tap)
DefinitionThere are some conditions that can cause fluid to build up in the abdomen. This is called ascites. When fluid builds up, an abdominal paracentesis may be done. With this procedure, a needle is used to remove a sample of fluid or to drain fluid that has built up.
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Reasons for ProcedureThis is done to find out why there is fluid build-up in the abdomen. Causes may include:
- Diseases of organs, such as the liver or kidneys
- Low blood protein
- Leakage of lymphatic fluid
- Makes breathing difficult
- Causes pain
Possible ComplicationsComplications are rare. However, no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an abdominal paracentesis, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Accidental piercing of structures in the abdomen
- Bleeding disorder
- Poor nutrition
- Full bladder
- Infection in the area where the paracentesis instrument will be inserted
- Cirrhosis of the liver
What to Expect
Prior to ProcedureYour doctor may do some or all of the following:
- Do not eat or drink for 12 hours before the procedure.
- Empty your bladder just before the procedure.
AnesthesiaYou will receive local anesthesia. The area will become numb. You will stay awake during the procedure.
Description of the ProcedureThis is usually done in the doctor's office. In some cases, your doctor may have you go to the hospital before or after this procedure. If you are already in the hospital for a different reason, this procedure will not extend your stay.In most cases, you will lie on your back. In some instances, you may need to be in a different position. The area where the needle will be inserted is cleaned with a solution and draped with sterile cloths. An injection of a local anesthetic will be given to numb the area. A needle will be carefully inserted into the abdomen. The fluid will be removed using a syringe.The amount of fluid removed depends on your condition. If it is being done to make a diagnosis, the doctor will remove a small amount of fluid and send it for testing. If the procedure is being done to make you feel better, more fluid may be removed.
How Long Will It Take?About 10-15 minutes, depending on how much fluid needs to be removed
How Much Will It Hurt?There will be some stinging or burning while the anesthesia is injected. After the area is numb, you will not feel pain.
Post-procedure CareAt the Care CenterYou will stay in the recovery room for a few hours. Your blood pressure and other vital signs will be monitored. If you have a lot of fluid leakage or are having trouble breathing, you may need to stay in the care center.At Home
- Rest the day after your procedure.
- Follow your doctor's instructions.
- Follow-up with you doctor. You may need to go over test results or have additional procedures.