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 9/30/2013
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.