COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Learn More

Ultrasound Guided Thoracentesis

An ultrasound-guided thoracentesis is a procedure in which a needle is inserted through your chest wall into your lung cavity to remove or collect fluid accumulation (called a pleural effusion).

A thoracentesis is done to help determine the cause of fluid in the lungs and/or to remove large amounts of the pleuritic fluid that is causing shortness of breath or other difficulties.

Before Your Procedure

  • Certain medications may increase your risk of bleeding and may need to be held prior to your procedure. You may resume these medications the day after your procedure, unless otherwise instructed.

During Your Procedure

  • With ultrasound pictures as a guide, the radiologist will select the best site to insert the needle.
  • This site is then cleaned with an antiseptic solution and a local anesthetic (numbing medication) is injected.
  • When the pleural cavity is entered, fluid will be removed.
  • The fluid may be sent to the lab to be examined.
  • Length of the exam is 20-30 minutes.

After Your Procedure

  • You will have a chest X-ray.
  • Expect to rest and be monitored for 1-2 hours following the exam.
  • The lab will send your fluid analysis results to your physician.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO