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Thoracentesis is a procedure that removes excess fluid from the pleural space. This space is between the outside surface of the lungs (pleura) and the chest wall. The procedure may be done to take a sample of the fluid for testing. Or, if you are having symptoms such as trouble breathing, it may be done to drain the excess fluid.
You may have some pain after the procedure. If needed, your doctor can prescribe or recommend pain medications for you to take at home. Take these exactly as directed. If you stopped taking other medications before the procedure, ask your doctor when you can start them again.
Take it easy for 48 hours after the procedure. Avoid being active until your doctor says it’s okay.
Avoid strenuous activities, such as lifting, until your doctor says it’s okay.
You will have a small bandage over the puncture site. You may remove the bandage in 24 hours.
Check the puncture site for the signs of infection listed below.
Make a follow-up appointment with your doctor as directed. During your follow-up visit, your doctor will check your healing. Be sure to let your doctor know how you are feeling.
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:
Coughing up blood
Chest pain not caused by the procedure
Shortness of breath
A fever of 100.4°F or higher
Pain not relieved by pain medication
Signs of infection at the puncture site. These include increased pain, redness, or swelling, warmth, or foul-smelling drainage.