A paracentesis procedure can be performed on any part of the body or body cavity where excess fluid may collect, but the most common paracentesis procedure is to remove excess fluid from the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen. The paracentesis procedure has a number of purposes, some diagnostic and some therapeutic. Here are some of the most common reasons for a paracentesis procedure.
- Getting rid of abdominal pressure due to ascites. Ascites are accumulations of fluid in the peritoneal cavity, and can be the result of cirrhosis and other severe liver diseases. They can cause pressure and pain necessitating the paracentesis procedure to relieve those symptoms. This is often done in a doctor's office or outpatient clinic and should not require a patient to stay overnight.
- Diagnosing infections. Fluid accumulated in the peritoneal cavity can be due to infection, and the paracentesis procedure to remove that fluid for testing is important for diagnosing certain conditions. Common conditions tested for in this way are adnominal tuberculosis and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.
- Tracking metastasis. The diagnosis of metastatic cancer is another important reason for the paracentesis procedure. Fluid can accumulate as a result of different types of cancer moving to new parts of the body, and this procedure is a helpful way to diagnose and track the metastasis.
- Finding blood in trauma. Certain traumas, from car crashes to gunshot wounds, can cause blood to enter the peritoneal cavity. The paracentesis procedure can detect this internal bleeding as a result of trauma.
Many doctors can perform a paracentesis procedure, as it is common and usually performed by doctors during residency or fellowship. If it sounds like you may need one, contact your physician to learn more.