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The removal of fluid from a body cavity using a needle, trocar, cannula, or other hollow instrument.

A paracentesis may be diagnostic or therapeutic as, for example, in ascites where there is free fluid in the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity. If the cause of the ascites is uncertain, diagnostic paracentesis is done in order to obtain fluid to examine. Therapeutic paracentesis may then be done to remove more fluid, as part of the plan of treatment.

Paracentesis of the chest cavity is called a thoracentesis.

(2) Paracentesis is a minimally invasive procedure using a needle to remove fluid from the abdomen.


There are two reasons to take fluid out of the abdomen. One is to analyze it for diagnostic purposes; the other is to relieve pressure. Liquid that accumulates in the abdomen is called ascites. Ascites seeps out of organs for several reasons related either to disease in the organ or fluid pressures that are changing.

glossary/paracentesis.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/16 14:40 (external edit)