Ultrasound is a way of visualizing organs and structures in the body using sound waves. A thoracentesis (chest tap) is a procedure to remove fluid buildup and relieve pressure in the chest cavity

A paracentesis is a procedure to remove fluid buildup and relieve pressure in the abdominal cavity.

How do I prepare for the exam?

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam, or for at least two hours prior to the exam if it is scheduled emergently.

Blood work and labs will be taken prior to the procedure. Please tell your scheduler if you are on any blood thinners.

What can I expect during the exam?

This exam is conducted by an ultrasound technologist, radiologist and a nurse.

The technologist and RN will prepare the patient by exposing the chest (usually the back) and placing the patient on a monitor. The technologist will scan the area where the fluid is to be removed. The Radiologist will come in and speak to the patient and answer questions.

The Radiologist will use a local numbing agent to numb the skin and muscles around the needle insertion site. A long needle will be inserted into this site, under the guidance of the ultrasound to ensure proper placement. Once the needle is in the fluid pocket to be drained, the fluid will be suctioned out into canisters.

The exam will take approximately 60 to 90 minutes.

What can I expect after the exam?

After the procedure, you will be allowed to return home to rest for the remainder of the day. You may resume your normal activities the next day.

All exams are reviewed by a radiologist, and a report will be sent to your ordering physician.