Procedures Center

Paracentesis

What Is It?

A paracentesis is a procedure done to remove excess fluid from the abdominal cavity and to provide comfort from weight gain.

How Do I Prepare?

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before.
  • Discuss with your doctor what medications you should take.
  • If you are taking medication to thin your blood (e.g., Coumadin, Warfarin, Plavix, or aspirin), you should check with your doctor about stopping these medications before this procedure.
  • Medications that your doctor has instructed you to take can be taken with a small amount of water.
  • Be sure to arrange transportation. Someone must stay with you at the hospital until discharge and drive you home. Transportation will be verified before the procedure. You may use a taxi cab for your transportation only if you have a person accompanying you other than the taxi cab driver. Your procedure may be cancelled if these arrangements are not made.

What Happens During the Procedure?

  • Consent is signed.
  • Your stomach must be completely empty for the best and safest exam.
  • An intravenous needle (IV) is inserted.
  • Your weight and measurement of your abdomen is taken.
  • Your abdomen is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and medication is injected under the skin to numb the area.
  • Fluid is removed through a needle and collected into a container.
  • Your blood pressure and pulse will be monitored throughout the procedure.
  • The procedure takes about 45-60 minutes.
  • Recovery time is about one hour.
  • Plan to be at the hospital a minimum of 2 1/2 hours.