Effusion and Ascites

Percutaneous Drainage in Cyprus

Percutaneous biopsy is a procedure in which Dr Zertalis uses ultrasound (US) or computed tomography (CT) to navigate a small plastic tube (drain) through the skin inside a fluid collection in the space around the lung (effusion) or inside the abdomen (ascites).


Accumulation of fluid within the space around the lung (effusion) and within the abdomen (ascites) increases pressure on the lungs and diaphragm resulting in shortness of breath and/or distention of the abdomen. Drainage of the fluid provides symptom relief by reducing the pressure. 


Percutaneous biopsy is a safe, effective and accurate procedure, but as with any medical procedure there are some risks and complications that you may uncommonly experience.

Bleeding: Risk of bleeding that is significant following percutaneous drainage is very small. Uncommonly, a blood transfusion may be required and rarely an interventional radiological or surgical procedure may be necessary to stop ongoing bleeding.

Re-accumulation of fluid: In some patients, fluid re-accumulates within a short period of time and in this instance a permanent tunnelled drain which remains long term and allows drainage of the fluid when required maybe indicated. You can discuss this in detail with Dr Zertalis.

Infection: Risk of introducing infection is rare although this risk is slightly higher when considering insertion of a permanent tunnelled drain.

Dr Zertalis will explain the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form. Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have and remember that even at this stage, you can still decide not to go ahead with procedure if you choose to do so.

Before the procedure

The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and with sedation if necessary. You will be asked not to eat or drink for 6 hours before the procedure. Where necessary a blood test may be required. A short and thin plastic tube (cannula) will be placed into a vein in your arm.

Please let Dr Zertalis know about any medications you take, any allergies you may have and if you previously have had a reaction to the x-ray dye (contrast).

The procedure

You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and lie on your back, front or side in the position that Dr Zertalis has decided is most suitable. You will have devices attached to your chest, arm and finger to monitor you pulse, blood pressure and oxygen levels. You will be given a sedative to relieve anxiety and painkillers where necessary. This is standard for all minimally invasive interventional radiology procedures performed in Cyprus.

The procedure is performed under sterile conditions and Dr Zertalis will wear sterile gowns and gloves. Your skin will be swabbed with antiseptic and you will be covered with sterile drapes.

Your skin near the point of insertion will be numbed using local anaesthetic. When the local anaesthetic is injected you will likely experience a burning sensation for 30 to 60 seconds.

Dr Zertalis will use ultrasound (US), X-Rays (Fluoroscopy), or the CT scanner to navigate a fine needle into the collection of fluid followed by the insertion of a guide wire over which a drainage tube is inserted and positioned into the fluid collection. This will be connected to a drainage bag.

Every patient is different, however, expect to be in the radiology department for up to 1 hour.

After the procedure

You will be transferred to your ward where your pulse, blood pressure, oxygen levels and the entry site in the skin will be checked by our team at regular intervals. You should expect to be in bed for up to 6 hours until you have recovered. The drain will remain in the fluid collection until it the fluid has been fully drained. Once this has happened, the drain can be removed. Most patients should expect to be in hospital for up to 24 hours.

With regards to the ability to drive, return to work and exercise this should be discussed with Dr Zertalis as every patient is different and it is not always easy to predict. You should expect relief of symptoms within a few hours although this can vary depending on the volume of the fluid collection.

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Legal Notice

Medical information on our website was prepared in line with evidence-based practice at the time of writing. Our aim is to make the information as up to date and accurate as possible, but please be aware that it is always subject to change. We cannot accept any legal liability arising from its use. You are strongly advised to check specific advice on the procedure or any concerns you may have with Dr Zertalis.