Relieve Pressure with an Image Guided Thoracentesis in Naples, FL

The area between your lungs and chest wall is called the pleural space, and normally, there is a relatively small amount of fluid in this space. However, there are several health issues that can cause additional fluid to leak into the pleural space. When this happens, it’s called pleural effusion, and it can put extra pressure on your lungs, which can make it more difficult for you to breathe. At Meliora Healthcare, we offer a procedure called thoracentesis to remove this extra fluid and get to the bottom of what’s causing it.

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What Is a Thoracentesis?

A thoracentesis is a procedure to remove fluid from around the lungs. First, our team will use an ultrasound to confirm the presence of fluid and locate a safe and adequate location for needle placement. After local anesthetic is applied, a needle is then put through the chest wall between the ribs and into the pleural space. Following this, the needle may be exchanged for a catheter. The fluid is then drained into a collection chamber either by manually filling and emptying a syringe or by connecting the catheter to a vacuum sealed bottle. Fluid samples are then sent to the lab for analysis to test for: 

  • Infection
  • Cancer
  • Other conditions including congestive heart failure, liver failure, blood clots and autoimmune disorders

Who needs a Thoracentesis in Naples?

A thoracentesis may be done to find the cause of the pleural effusion or to treat symptoms of a pleural effusion, which is usually either shortness of breath or chest discomfort. When you sit down for a private appointment with one of our expert pulmonary specialists at Meliora Healthcare, they’ll review information regarding your health, medical history and symptoms and determine if you should undergo a thoracentesis.

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What Should I Expect?

Before your thoracentesis, you will likely need to take several steps in preparation. This can include undergoing chest imaging such as an x-ray or CT scan and obtaining bloodwork to check your bleeding times and ability to clot. You may be told not to eat after midnight the night before (or about 8 hours before) the procedure. You will also receive instructions about taking your regular medicines. Be sure to ask about stopping any medications that thin the blood or prevent clotting. You’ll be changed into a surgical gown and either sit down or lie on your side comfortably.

Next, you’ll be administered local anesthesia to prevent any pain during the procedure. The doctor will then insert a needle between the ribs in your back, which will be used to begin removing excess fluid through an attached tube. At certain times during the procedure, you may be instructed to exhale, hold your breath, or be still. Once all the extra fluid has been withdrawn, the needle will be removed and bandages will be applied to the treatment area. You may resume your regular activities after sedation wears off, however you should avoid strenuous activities on the day of the procedure.

Thoracentesis FAQ

Are there alternatives to a thoracentesis?

How long does a thoracentesis take?

How long will it take to get my results?

Is a thoracentesis safe?

Are there alternatives to a thoracentesis?

Your provider may choose to try to treat the effusion with medications in certain instances. Surgical options including Video-Assisted Thorascopic Surgery (VATS) and thoracotomy are available but are much more invasive than as thoracentesis and are often not indicated.

How long does a thoracentesis take?

The length of the procedure varies depending on what needs to be done, but usually only takes 5-10 minutes.

How long will it take to get my results?

Some results will be back within 5-7 days and cultures can take anywhere from 72 hours to 6 weeks to finalize.

Is a thoracentesis safe?

Thoracentesis is a safe procedure. Serious risks from the procedure, such as an air leak or major bleeding, are uncommon. Your doctor will discuss the risks of the procedure with you in more detail at your visit.

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