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Paracentesis is a procedure in which a needle is inserted through the abdominal wall to remove fluid that has built up in the abdominal cavity (ascites). It may be used as a test (diagnostic paracentesis) or as a treatment (therapeutic paracentesis).

Paracentesis may be done to:

  • Collect a fluid sample from the abdominal cavity to help find out the cause of ascites (diagnostic).
  • Diagnose infection in the ascitic fluid (diagnostic).
  • Remove a large amount of fluid from the abdominal cavity when the fluid is causing discomfort or affecting the function of the kidneys or intestines (therapeutic).

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology