First we will perform an ultrasound or CT scan to evaluate the amount and location of the fluid. Then the doctor will inject a local numbing medicine at the site where the fluid will be drained.
The doctor will guide a small needle through the skin and into the fluid, and the fluid will be sucked out (aspirated) with a syringe. If it is likely that fluid will continue to accumulate, the doctor will place a drainage catheter, using live X-ray (fluoroscopy) for guidance. Your child will be protected by an X-ray shield.
A small amount of chest fluid will be sent to the laboratory to determine the cause of the accumulation.