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.

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