Thoracentesis and Paracentesis

Various conditions such as infection, inflammation or injury can lead to a buildup of fluids in the body.  Fluids building up in the chest cavity, or thorax can cause pulmonary distress and difficulty breathing.  Fluids building up in the abdomen can also be quite painful and cause issues with internal organs and functions.

A thoracentesis is a minimally invasive procedure to remove fluids from the chest cavity.  Paracentesis is a similar invasive procedure to remove fluids from the abdomen.  These procedures also can have diagnostic benefits in addition to relieving pain and restoring function.  The fluid is often sent for further lab testing.

In both procedures, a thin needle is inserted into the area and the fluid is drained off.  Ultrasound is used for visual guidance on these procedures to assure safe needle placement.