If there is a possibility of pregnancy, please inform the technologist prior to the date of your examination.

What to expect

A thoracentesis removes fluid from the space between the lining of the outside of the lungs (plura) and the wall of the chest. Normally there is only a small amount of fluid in this space. Fluid may be removed to: make you comfortable if too much fluid has built up and also to test for infections or the cause of fluid build-up.

A Radiologist uses an ultrasound image to find the fluid. To perform the test you will be sitting up and leaning on a padded stand. Your skin will first be cleaned and marked where the needle will be put in. A local numbing medicine (anesthetic) is then injected into the skin. You may feel a sting when the numbing drug is injected. Once you are numb, a catheter is placed to remove the fluid. It’s common to feel pressure or pain when the needle is placed. After the fluid is remove, the catheter is taken out and a Band-Aid is placed over the site. The procedure most often takes 30-45 minutes.

On the day of your exam

Please arrive approximately 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to allow for parking and registration. If you bring friends or family to the appointment they will be asked to have a seat in a waiting room during your test. Children cannot be left unattended during the test, so please arrange for a caregiver.

After the procedure

If lab tests are ordered, the results will go to your practitioner within 24 to 48 hours. You may have mild pain and/or bruising at the site. Take Tylenol/Acetaminophen for pain. (Do not take more than 4000 milligrams (mg) in a 24 hour time span). Use an ice pack if needed. It’s okay to shower anytime, but wait 5 days before swimming or taking a tub bath.


Our radiologist will study your examination and a report will be forwarded to your practitioner, from whom you may obtain the results. If you have any questions regarding this procedure, please contact our department at at 608-342-4740.

Date of appointment _______________________________________ Time_____________________

Your procedure will be performed at Southwest Health at 1400 Eastside Road – Platteville, WI 53818. Please use the Main Hospital Entrance and check in at the Registration Desk prior to your scheduled procedure.

If you cannot keep your appointment please contact the radiology department at 608-342-4740 so that me may accommodate another patient.

NOTE: It may take 2-3 days to obtain verification from your insurance company for exams that require prior authorization, such as CT, MRI, Nuclear Stress, Injections, etc.