How It Is Done continued...
If a large amount of fluid is present, the
paracentesis needle may be hooked by a small tube to a vacuum bottle for the
fluid to drain into it.
Generally, up to
4 L (1 gal) of fluid is taken
out. If your doctor needs to remove a larger amount of fluid, you may be given
fluids through an
intravenous line (IV) in a vein in your arm. This
fluid is needed to prevent low blood pressure or
shock. It is important that you lie completely still
during the procedure, unless you are asked to change positions to help drain
When the fluid has drained, the needle is taken out and
a bandage is placed over the site. After the test, your pulse, blood pressure,
and temperature are watched for about an hour. You may be weighed and the
distance around your belly may be measured before and after the test.
Paracentesis takes about 20 to 30 minutes. It will take longer if a large
amount of fluid is taken out. You can do your normal activities after the test
unless your doctor tells you not to.
How It Feels
You may feel a brief, sharp sting when
the numbing medicine is given. When the paracentesis needle is put into your
belly, you may feel a temporary sharp pain or pressure.
feel dizzy or lightheaded if a large amount of fluid is taken out. Tell your
doctor if you do not feel well during the test.
procedure, you may have some clear fluid draining from the site, especially if
a large amount of fluid was taken out. The drainage will get less in 1 to 2
days. A small gauze pad and bandage may be needed. Ask your doctor how much
drainage to expect.
There is a very small chance that the
paracentesis needle may poke the bladder, bowel, or a blood vessel in the
If cancer cells are present in the peritoneal fluid, there
is a small chance that the cancer cells may be spread in the belly.
If a large amount of fluid is removed, there is a small chance that your
blood pressure could drop to a low level. This could lead to shock. If you go
into shock, IV fluids or medicines, or both, may be given to help return your
blood pressure to normal. There is also a small chance that removing the
peritoneal fluid may affect how your kidneys work. If this is a concern, IV
fluids may be given during the paracentesis.
After the test
Call your doctor immediately if you
- A fever higher than
100 °F (38 °C).
- Severe belly pain.
- More redness or
tenderness in your belly.
- Blood in your urine.
or a lot of drainage from the site.