URL of this page: //medlineplus.gov/ency/presentations/100144.htm

Alpha fetoprotein - series—Procedure

Procedure

Overview

The AFP test involves taking a blood sample. Blood is drawn from a vein (venipuncture), usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

Usually, there is little pain associated with a blood drawing. When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate discomfort, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation.

There are few risks with this test:

  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded.
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin).
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken).
  • Multiple punctures to locate veins.

Update Date 9/26/2015

Updated by: Daniel N. Sacks MD, FACOG, Obstetrics & Gynecology in Private Practice, West Palm Beach, FL. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.