Discharge Instructions for Paracentesis

Paracentesis is a procedure to remove extra fluid from your belly (abdomen). This fluid buildup in the abdomen is called ascites. The procedure may have been done to take a sample of the fluid. Or, it may have been done to drain the extra fluid from your abdomen and help make you more comfortable.

Outline of woman's abdomen showing abdominal organs. Fluid is filling abdomen around organs.

Home care

  • If you have pain after the procedure, your healthcare provider can prescribe or recommend pain medicines. Take these exactly as directed. If you stopped taking other medicines before the procedure, ask your provider when you can start them again.

  • Take it easy for 24 hours after the procedure. Avoid physical activity until your provider says it’s OK.

  • You will have a small bandage over the puncture site. Stitches (sutures), surgical staples, adhesive tapes, adhesive strips, or surgical glue may be used to close the incision. They also help stop bleeding and speed healing. You may take the bandage off in 24 hours.

  • Check the puncture site for the signs of infection listed below.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider as directed. During your follow-up visit, your provider will check your healing. Let your provider know how you are feeling. You can also discuss the cause of your ascites and if you need any further treatment.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following after the procedure:

  • A fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher

  • Trouble breathing

  • Pain that doesn't go away even after taking pain medicine

  • Belly pain not caused by having the skin punctured

  • Bleeding from the puncture site

  • More than a small amount of fluid leaking from the puncture site

  • Swollen belly

  • Signs of infection at the puncture site. These include increased pain, redness, or swelling, warmth, or bad-smelling drainage.

  • Blood in your urine

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded, or fainting