Fairfax Radiological Consultants

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What is Thoracentesis?

Thoracentesis is a simple procedure that alleviates pressure on the lungs and makes it easier to breathe by removing fluid that has built up around the lungs.

Common Questions

  • Why would my physician recommend Thoracentesis?

    Your physician may recommend Thoracentesis if:

    • you are experiencing shortness of breath and/or pain when breathing
    • an X-ray shows that there is a buildup of fluid in the lung (pleural) area
  • What do I need to do before my procedure?

    You will be given detailed instructions by our staff before your procedure. You will need labs done prior to your procedure. Patients should notify staff if they are taking anticoagulants (blood thinners). Be sure to bring your insurance card, photo ID, list of current medications (dose and frequency) and any diagnostic testing results.

  • What should I expect during a Thoracentesis procedure?

    Before your procedure, your physician will most likely order a chest X-ray as well as certain blood tests. The area is then thoroughly cleaned with an antiseptic or special soap and you will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area. Once numb, your Interventional Radiologist will use an Ultrasound as a guide to gently insert a fine, flexible stylette attached to a drainage tube (catheter) into the precise area where the built-up fluid will be removed. The entire procedure should take less than an hour. Once complete a small bandage will be placed over the injection site, your vitals will be checked and you will have a chest X-ray. Once you are discharged, you will be able to resume your normal activities.

  • What will I feel during a Thoracentesis procedure?

    You may feel some pressure while the fluid is being removed. Once the fluid is removed, you should feel a sense of relief and be able to breathe more easily.

  • How do I schedule a Thoracentesis procedure with Fairfax Vascular Center?

    Before scheduling an appointment, you will need to get a referral from your physician. Once you have a referral, you can schedule an appointment by calling 703.698.4475 Monday through Friday 7am to 5pm.

  • When are appointments offered for Thoracentesis procedures?

    Appointments are available at Fairfax Vascular Center Monday through Friday, 7am to 5pm. Learn more about this location.

Available at the following location