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Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 1, 2023.

A thoracentesis is a procedure to remove extra fluid or air from between your lungs and your inner chest wall. Air or fluid buildup may make it hard for you to breathe. A thoracentesis allows your lungs to expand fully so you can breathe more easily.


Seek care immediately if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • There is blood in your saliva.
  • You had a chest tube removed and your stitches come apart.
  • You have sudden trouble breathing.
  • You have severe chest pain.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your puncture site is red, warm, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure, medicine, or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Antibiotics help fight or prevent an infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Rest as needed. Return to your daily activities as directed.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and cigars can cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. Smokeless tobacco still contains nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.