New Latin, from amnion + centesis puncture, from Greek kentesis, from kentein to prick — more at center
First Known Use: 1957
Medical Definition of AMNIOCENTESIS
: the surgical insertion of a hollow needle through the abdominal wall and into the uterus of a pregnant female to obtain amniotic fluid especially to examine the fetal chromosomes for an abnormality and for the determination of sex
Illustration of AMNIOCENTESIS
Surgical insertion of a hollow needle through the abdominal wall into the uterus of a pregnant female to extract fluid from the amniotic sac for analysis of fluid and fetal cells. This can reveal the fetus's sex (important when sex-linked genetic disease is possible), chromosomal disorders, and other problems. First performed in the 1930s, amniocentesis is generally done under local anesthesia in the 15th–17th week of gestation.