Ascitic fluid aspiration
An ascitic tap is a medical procedure where a needle is used to drain fluid that is trapped in an internal body cavity, most commonly the abdomen (belly). Fluid may have to be drained from the abdomen for different reasons, such as if the fluid is stretching the abdomen and causing pain; if the fluid is infected; or if a doctor needs to analyse the fluid in a laboratory for the presence of any disease.
A radiologist (specialist doctor) uses ultrasound to show images or pictures of the inside of the abdomen on a screen to guide the needle to where the fluid is situated.
Other names for an ascitic tap are ‘abdominocentesis’, ‘paracentesis of the abdomen’ or ‘ascitic drain’.
during an ascitic tap?
You will be asked to lie on your back on a bed and your abdomen will be wiped clean with antiseptic liquid.
The doctor will locate the fluid in your abdomen and determine the easiest way to reach the fluid by using ultrasound images that show the inside of your abdomen on a screen.
You will be fully awake during the whole procedure, but the doctor will numb a small area of skin with local anaesthetic for your comfort. Through the numb patch of skin, a needle is used to insert a thin plastic drain tube into the area of fluid. This allows the fluid to drain out of the body into a sealed plastic bag. Once enough fluid has been removed, the tube is carefully removed by a nurse or doctor. This only takes a couple of seconds and no stitches are required. You will then be allowed to go home.