An abdominal tap is used to remove fluid from the area between the belly wall and the spine. This space is called the abdominal cavity.
Peritoneal tap; Paracentesis; Ascites - abdominal tap; Cirrhosis - abdominal tap; Malignant ascites - abdominal tap
How the Test is Performed
This test may be done in a health care provider's office, 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 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) 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.
Sometimes, ultrasound is used to guide the needle. An ultrasound uses sound waves to make the image and not x-rays. It does not hurt.
There are 2 kinds of abdominal taps:
- Diagnostic tap. A small amount of fluid is taken and sent to the laboratory for testing
- Large volume tap. Several liters may be removed to relieve abdominal pain and fluid buildup