When fluid builds up in the area between the lungs and your chest wall, it is called pleural effusion. Thoracentesis is the process doctors use to remove that fluid. The procedure is used for both treatment and diagnostic purposes. Thoracentesis can ease the feelings of pressure in that area and help doctors understand what is causing it.
Thoracentesis is performed using a local anesthetic. After you are numb, your doctor will insert a needle or catheter between your ribs into the area of build-up and draw out some of the fluid. He or she may use an ultrasound or CT scan to help guide the procedure. Once enough fluid has been drawn, the needle will be removed. The entire process takes approximately 15 minutes. Thoracentesis isn’t painful, though you may feel a pulling sensation as the fluid is removed.
Thoracentesis is just one of the many procedures we offer at Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg. Find out more about all of the hospital services we provide to help your family stay healthy by calling us at (888) 598-9586.