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Ultrasound Guided Paracentesis

Where do I go?

Same Day Surgery is located in the main Duke Raleigh Hospital building.  Please report to the Same Day Surgery registration department found on the first floor of the main hospital building. Please park in parking deck P2, located to the left of Duke Raleigh’s main entrance when facing the front of the hospital from Wake Forest Road. Enter the 3rd entrance to the hospital marked Registration/Surgery, past the emergency room and imaging department entrances. You will need to sign in at the desk to notify staff of your arrival.  After registration for your exam, you (and/or your family) will then be asked to go to the pre-procedural area.

What can I expect at my appointment?

After you register, your pre-procedural care will begin.  Your ultrasound-guided procedure will be performed by a specially trained radiologist. The radiologist and the ultrasound technologist will explain the procedure, answer any questions and obtain your consent. Please plan on spending at least four hours at the hospital for ultrasound guided studies. 

Paracentesis is a diagnostic and/or therapeutic tool used to evaluate or remove fluid from the abdominal cavity. You will be asked to lie on an ultrasound examination table and preliminary ultrasound images will be obtained to localize the area.  The skin around the area will be cleansed with antiseptic.  Under ultrasound guidance, the radiologist will advance a needle through the numb area and into the area of fluid.  Fluid aspirated will be sent to the lab for analysis.  You may experience minor discomfort and pressure during the study.

You should avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours.

Do I need to do anything to prepare?

Your doctor’s office will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare for your test.  A radiology nurse will call you a few days prior to your procedure.  The nurse will obtain a health history and review any medications you are taking.  Certain medications must be stopped one to seven days before your procedure.  Please bring all previous exams to the appointment.  You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for 4 hours prior to your exam. 

What should I tell the technologist?

Please inform the technologist of any problems or symptoms that you may be having.

How will I get the results?

Your study will be interpreted by a radiologist and a copy of the interpretation will be sent to the doctor who ordered the study.  You can learn the results of your exam by contacting this doctor.  If you would like a copy of the images, please inform the technologist at the time of the study.