BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuCytology exam of pleural fluidPleural fluid cytology; Lung cancer - pleural fluidA cytology exam of pleural fluid is a laboratory test to detect cancer cells and certain other cells in the area that surrounds the lungs. This area is called the pleural space. Cytology means the study of cells.Cytology examCytologic evaluation is the analysis of cells from the body under a microscope. This is done to determine what the cells look like, and how they for...Read Article Now Book Mark Article How the Test is Performed A sample of fluid from the pleural space is needed. The sample is taken using a procedure called thoracentesis.ThoracentesisThoracentesis is a procedure to remove fluid from the space between the lining of the outside of the lungs (pleura) and the wall of the chest....Read Article Now Book Mark Article The procedure is done in the following way:You sit on a bed or on the edge of a chair or bed. Your head and arms rest on a table. A small area of skin on your back is cleaned. Numbing medicine (local anesthetic) is injected in this area. The doctor inserts a needle through the skin and muscles of the chest wall into the pleural space. Fluid is collected. The needle is removed. A bandage is placed on the skin.The fluid sample is sent to a laboratory. There, it is examined under the microscope to determine what the cells look like and whether they are abnormal. How to Prepare for the Test No special preparation is needed before the test. A chest x-ray will likely be done before and after the test.Do not cough, breathe deeply, or move during the test to avoid injury to the lung. How the Test will Feel You will feel stinging when the local anesthetic is injected. You may feel pain or pressure when the needle is inserted into the pleural space.Tell your health care provider if you feel short of breath or have chest pain. Why the Test is Performed A cytology exam is used to look for cancer and precancerous cells. It may also be done for other conditions, such as identifying systemic lupus erythematosus cells.Systemic lupus erythematosusSystemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease. In this disease, the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It c...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of fluid buildup in the pleural space. This condition is called pleural effusion. The test may also be done if you have signs of lung cancer.Pleural effusionA pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Normal Results Normal cells are seen. What Abnormal Results Mean In an abnormal result, there are cancerous (malignant) cells. This may mean there is a cancerous tumor. This test most often detects:TumorA tumor is an abnormal growth of body tissue. Tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).Read Article Now Book Mark Article Breast cancer Breast cancerBreast cancer is cancer that starts in the tissues of the breast. There are two main types of breast cancer:Ductal carcinoma starts in the tubes (du...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Lymphoma LymphomaHodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of lymph tissue. Lymph tissue is found in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, bone marrow, and other sites.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Lung cancer Lung cancerSmall cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a fast-growing type of lung cancer. It spreads much more quickly than non-small cell lung cancer. There are two typ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Ovarian cancer Stomach cancer Risks Risks are related to thoracentesis and may include:Bleeding Infection Collapse of the lung (pneumothorax) PneumothoraxA collapsed lung occurs when air escapes from the lung. The air then fills the space outside of the lung between the lung and chest wall. This buil...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Difficulty breathingOpen ReferencesReferencesBlok BK. Thoracentesis. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 9.Cibas ES. Pleural, pericardial, and peritoneal fluids. In: Cibas ES, Ducatman BS, eds. Cytology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 4.Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Thoracentesis - diagnostic. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:1052-1135.AllVideoImagesTog Tests for Cytology exam of pleural fluid Cytology exam of pleural fluidRelated Information Pleural effusion(Condition)Tumor(Condition)Breast cancer(Condition)Lung cancer - small cell(Condition)Hodgkin lymphoma(Condition)Lung metastases(Condition)Breast cancer(In-Depth)Hodgkin disease(In-Depth)Non-small cell lung cancer(In-Depth) Review Date: 8/3/2020 Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. 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