Abdominal tap, or paracentesis, is a procedure to eliminate excess fluid from the ab cavity, i beg your pardon is the area in between the abdominal wall surface and the spine. Excess liquid in the abdomen is called “ascites.” Normally, there need to be no ascites within the abdominal cavity. This liquid in the abdominal muscle cavity can cause bloating, pain, and breathing difficulties. The many common reason of liquid in the abdominal muscle cavity is fibrotic scarring of the liver, i beg your pardon is called cirrhosis. Liquid buildup in the ab cavity can also be resulted in by a variety of illnesses including:

an infectionbowel damagekidney diseaseheart failure, which is likewise known together “congestive heart failure”pancreatitistuberculosiscancer

An ab tap is excellent to eliminate excess fluid and determine the reason of the fluid buildup.


Before you have an abdominal muscle tap, your doctor will take her medical history and give you a physical exam. Castle may likewise order various other laboratory tests. The abdominal tap deserve to be excellent in the doctor’s office, a treatment room, or in the hospital. You do not do it eat or drink noþeles 12 hours prior to the procedure. You’ll also need come empty her bladder.

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An ab tap procedure takes around 15 come 20 minutes, and no general anesthesia is required. An ab tap involves the complying with steps:

The procedure area is cleaned and shaved.Your doctor then uses a neighborhood anesthetic. This numbs the area come prevent any kind of pain or discomfort. For larger fluid removal, your doctor may need to do a small cut in the skin to accommodate the needle.Once the area is ready, your physician inserts the require tap right into the skin. The needle itself only goes 1 to 2 customs deep. Here, the fluid is extracted through the syringe. Then, your physician will eliminate the needle. Her doctor might or might not usage ultrasound throughout the ab tap. The lot of fluid removed depends greatly on the initial purpose the the procedure. Your doctor may perform a little diagnostic tap, or they may perform a large-volume tap. During a large-volume tap, your doctor will eliminate several liters of fluid to to decrease the pressure and also pain. If this is the case, a tube might be attached between the needle and also syringe to aid your physician get an ext fluids.

After the procedure, your doctor will dress the wound and make any necessary stitches. If a diagnosis is needed, the bottle of liquid will be it is registered to a laboratory.


Risks associated with an abdominal tap are rare, but the most common risks space minor trouble breathing and also fluid leakage right after the procedure. Usually, you’ll need to wait to leaving the doctor’s office or hospital until those clean up. Other threats include:

a drop in blood pressure, which just occurs if a significant volume of liquid is removedan inadvertently puncture that a blood vessel, the bowel, or the bladderan acute kidney injury one infection

Certain risk factors may likewise increase the chances for complications, particularly if you have cirrhosis. You may likewise be an ext likely to develop an epidemic if you a smoker or drink too much alcohol ~ above a consistent basis. Negative nutrition can also increase the hazard for infection.

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Once you’re at home, contact your doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms:

a fever chillsredness about the needle puncture siteswelling approximately the needle puncture siteincreased painbleeding leakage that fluida sneeze shortness of breathchest painfaintingincreased abdominal swelling

Cirrhosis is the most common cause of abdominal fluid buildup that calls for a diagnostic abdominal tap. Since cirrhosis is irreversible, treatment for this problem concentrates on staying clear of further liver damage. Ascites in such instances is frequently a authorize that liver fail is imminent. Other feasible results and causes the this form of liquid retention are:

an abdominal injuryan infectionliver diseasebowel damageleakage that lymphatic fluidheart diseasekidney diseasepancreatic diseasea tumorlow levels of protein in the bloodinternal bleeding

Depending ~ above the results of the abdominal muscle tap and any other test performed, more medical treatment may it is in needed. Your doctor might recommend that you monitor your body load to catch much more fluid buildup. Further tests may likewise need to be done, such together ultrasounds, CT scans, and blood tests.


An excess fluid buildup in the ab cavity isn’t normal. Therefore, an ab tap is important to eliminate the fluids and also determine the cause of buildup.

Recovering indigenous the procedure is generally straightforward, and you’ll likely have the ability to resume normal activities once the wound heals. Inspect with your doctor around exercise and other physical tasks after the procedure, particularly if you have stitches.

The outlook relies on the underlying cause of ascites. Depending on your condition, you may require multiple ab taps later if fluid continues to develop up in your abdominal cavity. Follow to the American university of Gastroenterology, civilization with liver an illness who build ascites have actually a 30 and 40 percent possibility of surviving five years. In ~ this point, a liver transplant is necessary.


last medically reviewed on January 12, 2016


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Medically the review by Steve Kim, MD — composed by Julie Roddick — updated on July 8, 2017

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