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Procedure: Culdocentesis

Description and Purpose

Culdocentesis is a procedure where fluid is withdrawn from the pelvic cavity in order to be examined for abnormalities such as blood or infectious agents. The main reasons for performing this procedure are:

Preparation and Procedure

The same position as for a pelvic exam is adopted. The doctor inserts a needle through the vagina and into the cul-de-sac of Douglas , an area just behind the uterus that is defined by the membrane lining the abdomen and pelvic organs, and withdraws a sample of fluid from this cavity.
The fluid removed is then examined. If the fluid contains nonclotting blood, a ruptured ectopic pregnancy may be suspected. If PID is suspected, the fluid may be examined for infectious agents. The whole procedure takes about 10 minutes.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. The Yale University School of Medicine Patient's Guide to Medical Tests, Barry L. Zaret M.D., Senior Editor, published by Houghton Mifflin. Online:

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Contact Last modified: Oct 20 2004