You will be positioned in a sitting position and will lean forward over a table or a padded surface. The site for insertion of the needle, which will be between your ribs on your back, will be cleaned. A local anesthetic will then be injected. A long needle or catheter will then be inserted into the pleural space. Ultrasound may be used to guide the needle or catheter.
The procedure usually takes 10 to 15 minutes, but may take longer if a large amount of fluid must be removed. The needle or catheter may be attached to a container to hold the fluid if a lot of it has to be removed. After the needle or catheter is removed, a bandage will be placed on the site.