What Is Thoracentesis?

Thoracentesis is a procedure used to drain excess fluid found in the pleural space, the area between the lungs and the chest wall.

First, the patient is made comfortable with local anesthesia. Using ultrasound to guide the cannula (hollow needle), the interventional pulmonologist inserts the needle and draws out the extra fluid from the pleural space.

This outpatient procedure generally takes 30 to 45 minutes.

Related Resources

Thoracentesis (PDF)

Thoracentesis (PDF) (Spanish)