Paracentesis is a procedure that uses ultrasound to locate a pocket of free fluid within the abdominal cavity. This assists the radiologist in placing a temporary catheter to drain the fluid.


  • You will lie on an exam table with your abdomen exposed.
  • A non-greasy gel will be applied to your skin during the exam.
  • The sonographer will use a hand-held transducer (probe) against your abdomen to obtain images of the fluid in your abdomen.
  • The sonographer then shows the radiologist the largest pocket of fluid.
  • The radiologist numbs the area with Lidocaine to aid in any discomfort the procedure causes.
  • The radiologist then sterilizes the area and places a temporary catheter within the abdomen.


  • You must have labs drawn prior to having this procedure done: PT, PTT, INR and platelets (the labs can be done the night before or the morning of, depending on your appointment).
  • You may eat or drink before this exam.
  • Arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment with a prescription from your doctor.


Let the technologist know:

  • If you take any medications.
  • If you have an allergy to Lidocaine.
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