Paracentesis, also called an abdominal tap, is a procedure to remove fluid between the abdomen and spine. There’s normally little to no fluid there, but sometimes fluid builds up in this area, creating a condition called ascites.
Sometimes paracentesis is done to remove a sample of this fluid to figure out what’s causing the buildup. Causes may include cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, kidney disease, pancreatic disease, a tumor or bowel damage. Other times, a significant amount of fluid is drained to relieve stomach pain caused by the buildup.