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Paracentesis is a procedure to remove excess fluid buildup in the abdomen, a condition called ascites. Ascites can be caused by injury, infection, inflammation, or disease. Removing the fluid is important for testing for cause, as well as to relieve pain, pressure, and other possible problems caused by the collected fluid, which can include difficulty breathing and interruption of normal kidney and bowel function.

After applying a local anesthetic and using painless ultrasound image guidance, your MIT radiologist will gently insert a needle into the affected area to carefully extract the fluid and relieve any pressure and, when indicated, send the fluid to the lab for testing. This procedure is generally quick and most patients report very little discomfort.