Our Board Certified, Fellowship Trained Interventional Radiologists can use Paracentesis — a quick, minimally invasive procedure — to remove fluid from the abdomen.
You may be a candidate for paracentesis if you suffer from ascites. For patients who have tried improving ascites through lifestyle changes and/or medications without significant results, paracentesis may be the next treatment option.
Ascites, or the buildup of fluid in the abdomen, can be caused by a variety of medical conditions especially cirrhosis, hepatitis B or C, or a history of alcohol use.
Risk factors of developing ascites:
Common symptoms of ascites include:
Diagnostic and Therapeutic Paracentesis
There are two reasons to remove fluid from the abdomen—to analyze it (fluid sampling) or to relieve pressure (large volume paracentesis).
Diagnostic paracentesis is performed to evaluate abdominal problems, including ascites, abdominal injury, acute abdomen, and peritonitis. The fluid sample is then sent to the laboratory for analysis.
Therapeutic paracentesis is performed to remove excess fluid in the abdomen. Removing a large volume of ascitic fluid from the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity can decrease abdominal pain and relieve respiratory difficulty due to increased intra-abdominal pressure.
What can I expect during my procedure?
There is no pain or sedation. After the area is cleaned, a local anesthetic will be administered. Once the numbing agent has taken effect, an intra-abdominal injection will be made through a small puncture site in your abdominal wall. Fluid is then drained through the placement of a catheter. The procedure will last about 30 minutes, depending on how much fluid is drained.
What can I expect after my procedure?
After your paracentesis, your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. You’ll leave your appointment on the same day with only a small bandage on the punctured site. It’s important to keep the area dry and covered to prevent infection. You may need to avoid strenuous physical activity for one to two days after the procedure.