Abdominal tapping or paracentesis is a procedure to remove peritoneal fluid that has collected in the abdomen. This buildup of fluid is called ascites and may be caused by infection, inflammation, injury, or other health conditions like cancer and cirrhosis. The fluid is removed with a long, thin needle that is inserted through the skin and into the abdominal cavity and is sent to the laboratory for analysis.
Paracentesis may be done therapeutically to help relive the symptoms caused by ascites. It is also performed to find the etiological cause of the ascites, diagnose an infection in the peritoneal fluid, check for certain types of cancer, relieve abdominal swelling caused by excessive peritoneal fluid, or alleviate pain or breathing issues caused by the fluid buildup.
- Allows doctors to figure out how much fluid is inside the abdominal cavity as well as help alleviate pain symptoms that patients may experience.
- It allows doctors to help analyze the fluid that is collected
A paracentesis can be done in the doctor’s office or in the hospital. During the procedure, the doctor will.
1. Clean the spot on your abdomen where the needle will be inserted.
2. Inject local anesthesia to numb the skin and reduce pain.
3. Insert a needle one or two inches into your abdomen. Sometimes a cut is made to help facilitate needle entry.
4. A syringe is then used to draw the fluid out.
5. Once the needle is removed, the area will be patched up. If the doctor made a cut to help insert the needle, you may need stitches to close it back up.
6. In some cases, an ultrasound will be used to make sure the needle goes into the right place. Ultrasounds do not cause any harm or pain.
Make sure that the doctor is aware if you: 1. Have any allergies to latex, or local anesthetic 2. Are taking any other mmedications or on herbal medicine 3. Have any bleeding disorders 4. Are pregnant or may suspect that you are Pre-treatment proceudre: You will need to empty you bladder before undergoing this procedure
Depending on the severity of the ascites or fluid colelction or how much fluid is to be removed, you may need to stay in the hospital for several hours to days after the procedure for monitoring.
Dizziness or lightheadedness. Low blood pressure. Bruising or bleeding. Infection. Injury to the bladder, bowel, or blood vessels.
What is the fluid that has been accumulating inside me and what causes its accumulation?
The medical term for the build up of fluid in the abdomen is known as ascites. The sheet of tissue (known as the peritoneum) around these organs is made up of 2 layers; one layer lines the wall of the abdomen and the other one lines the organs. The layers produce a small amount of fluid so that the organs in the abdomen can move smoothly. When you have a disease such as cancer, it can cause the fluid to build up between the 2 layers, making the abdomen swell. Other conditions that can cause fluid build up include chronic liver disease and heart diseases.
How do I know that I have ascites?
Fluid build up in the abdomen that causes swelling can make your tummy feel tight and very uncomfortable. It often develops over a few weeks but might happen over a few days. The accumulation of fluid causes can compress other other organs in the abdominal area and may lead to these symptoms: -Clothes feeling tighter or needing a bigger belt size -Bloating -Abdominal pain -Back pain -Difficulty sitting comfortably and moving around -Loss of appetite -Indigestion -Constipation -The need to pass urine frequently -Breathlessness -Tiredness and weakness (fatigue) If you experience several of these symptoms, please contact your doctor right away.
What are the complications of ascites?
Ascites can make eating, drinking, and moving around difficult. It can also make it hard to breathe. Ascites can lead to abdominal infections, which may cause kidney failure. It can also cause umbilical or inguinal hernias.