How It Is Done continued...
If a large amount of fluid is going
to be taken out during the procedure, you may lie on your back with your head
raised. People who have less fluid taken out may sit up. The site where your
doctor will put the needle is cleaned with a special soap and draped with
Your doctor puts a numbing medicine into your
belly. Once the area is numb, your doctor will gently and slowly put the
paracentesis needle in where the extra fluid is likely to be. Your doctor will
be careful to not poke any blood vessels or the intestines. If your test is
done in the X-ray department, an
ultrasound may be used to show where the fluid is in
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.