Paracentesis is a procedure to evaluate and remove an abnormal collection of fluid in the abdominal cavity known as ascites. Ascitic fluid most often accumulates in the abdomen as a complication of cirrhosis of the liver, congestive heart failure or cancer.
An appropriate site for fluid removal is chosen by either physical examination or by using an ultrasound machine. The skin and abdominal wall are numbed with an injection of Novocain.
A small plastic tube is then inserted through an incision into the abdominal cavity. Fluid can then be removed for diagnostic testing.
A large volume of fluid can also be removed to relieve symptoms such as bloating or abdominal pressure.