Paracentesis Offered at Mercy in Baltimore, Maryland

Dr. Hwan Yoo - Mercy Medical Center

Paracentesis, a simple technique of removing excess fluid from the abdomen in a safe manner, is offered at The Melissa L. Posner Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy. The Institute is dedicated to providing patients with the best treatment options available for liver and GI diseases. 

What is Paracentesis?

Paracentesis, also known as an abdominal tap, is used to remove excess fluid from the abdomen. It also can be used to remove a small sample of abdominal fluid for diagnosis. Excess abdominal fluid is often associated with cirrhosis and less commonly with heart failure, cancer and kidney disease.

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How is Paracentesis performed?

Before paracentesis is performed, an area on the skin of the abdomen is cleaned and numbing medicine (lidocaine) is applied. During paracentesis, a needle is inserted into the abdomen with ultrasound guidance to extract fluid from the abdominal cavity. In people with cirrhosis, albumin is also given intravenously during the procedure to protect from kidney damage. The procedure is performed in our dedicated endoscopy suite. When performed as an outpatient procedure, patients typically go home the same day. 

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When is Paracentesis recommended?

Paracentesis can be recommended when there is a buildup of fluid in the abdomen causing discomfort, or when a physician needs a sample of abdominal fluid for diagnosis.