Medical Definition of Paracentesis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Paracentesis: The removal of fluid from a body cavity via a needle, a trocar, a cannula, or another hollow instrument. A paracentesis may be used for diagnosis or treatment, as, for example, in ascites, where there is free fluid in the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity. If the cause of the ascites is uncertain, diagnostic paracentesis is done in order to obtain fluid that can be examined. Therapeutic paracentesis may then be done to remove more fluid, as part of the plan of treatment. Paracentesis of the chest cavity is called a thoracentesis.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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