The puncture and aspiration (withdrawal) of fluid from the cul-de-sac, the rectouterine pouch (the pouch of Douglas), an extension of the peritoneal cavity between the rectum and back wall of the uterus. The word "culdocentesis" is derived from "cul-de-sac" which is a blind pouch or cavity that is closed at one end and, in a more specific sense, refers to the rectouterine pouch. In French, "cul-de-sac" literally is "bottom of (a) sack." As early as the 13th century, a cul-de-sac was a dead-end street (or a dead-end way), a blind alley. A "centesis" is a puncture (the Greek "kentesis" = puncture), as in: abdominocentesis (am abdominal tap), amniocentesis (an amniotic fluid tap), etc. Thus, the composite word "culdocentesis" = a tap of the cul-de-sac.
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Aspiration of fluid from the cul-de-sac (rectouterine excavation) by puncture of the vaginal vault near the midline between the uterosacral ligaments. [cul-de-sac + G. kentesis, puncture]

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cul·do·cen·te·sis .kəl-dō-.sen-'tē-səs, .ku̇l- n, pl -te·ses -.sēz removal of material from the pouch of Douglas by means of puncture of the vaginal wall

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cul·do·cen·te·sis (kul″do-sen-teґsis) [cul-de-sac + -centesis] aspiration of fluid from the rectouterine space by puncture of the apex of the vaginal wall.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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