A thoracentesis is a procedure in which a radiologist uses ultrasound to guide placement of a small catheter or needle into a fluid collection surrounding the lung (pleural space), draining some of this fluid for relief of breathing problems or for diagnostic testing.

In more than 90 percent of cases, analysis of pleural fluid yields clinically useful information. A local anesthetic, similar to Novocain, is injected into the area to minimize discomfort during the procedure and the patient is asked to hold their breath to avoid the puncturing of the lung.

A chest x-ray is commonly done after the procedure to detect possible complications.

If you have concerns regarding the amount of radiation involved in any of the tests we offer, please contact us at (360) 425-5131.