An abdominal tap is a procedure used to remove fluid from the abdomen.
Peritoneal tap; Paracentesis
This test may be done in an office setting, treatment room, or hospital.
The puncture site will be cleaned and shaved, if necessary. You then receive a local numbing medicine. The tap needle is inserted 1 - 2 inches into the abdomen. Sometimes a small cut is made to help insert the needle. The fluid is pulled out into a syringe.
The needle is removed. A dressing is placed on the puncture site. If a cut was made, one or two stitches may be used to close it.
There are two kinds of abdominal taps:
Let your health care provider know if you:
Infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child's age, previous experience, and level of trust. For general information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:
You may feel a stinging sensation from the numbing medicine, or pressure as the needle is inserted.
If a large amount of fluid is taken out, you may feel dizzy or light-headed. Tell the health care provider if you feel dizzy.
Normally, the abdomen contains only a small amount of fluid. In certain conditions, large amounts of fluid can build up in the abdomen.
An abdominal tap may be done to diagnose the cause of fluid buildup. It may also be done to diagnose infected abdominal fluid, or to remove a large amount of fluid to reduce abdominal pain.
Normally, there should be little or no fluid in the abdomen.
An examination of abdominal fluid may show:
There is a slight chance of the needle puncturing the bowel, bladder, or a blood vessel in the abdomen. If a large quantity of fluid is removed, there is a slight risk of lowered blood pressure and kidney failure. There is also a slight chance of infection.
Review Date: 8/22/2008
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