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Abdominal Tapping (Paracentesis)

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.

Purpose of the Procedure

Paracentesis may be done to find the 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.

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Bruising or bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Injury to the bladder, bowel, or blood vessels.

Your doctor will provide recommendations as appropriate for your treatment.

There is usually no alternative to paracentesis if your doctor recommends that this procedure is appropriate for your condition.

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