Cyst Aspiration

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Cysts are fluid-filled masses that may or may not be palpable (palpable masses can be felt as a lump in the breast). Cysts are almost always benign (not cancer). Benign cysts are usually adequately diagnosed by the ultrasound examination as simple cyst (filled only with fluid).

Why Aspiration is Recommended

  • If the suspected cyst has an unusual appearance on ultrasound, it is aspirated to verify that it really is a benign cyst.
  • Cyst aspiration may also be done for simple cysts that are bothersome to you because they are palpable (feel like a breast lump), painful or are large and obsure breast tissue on your mammogram.

What to Expect

  • You will lie on your back on the ultrasound table and the cyst to be aspirated will be localized.
  • The radiologist performing the procedure will have studied your mammogram and ultrasound to become familiar with the location of the abnormal tissue in your breast.
  • The skin on your breast will be cleaned; then a local anesthetic is injected with very fine needle. You may feel a slight sting.
  • Because of the local anesthetic, most patients report only a small amount of pressure during the procedure.
  • The radiologist will use ultrasound to precisely guide the needle into the cyst and then remove the fluid from the cyst. Ultrasound provides real-time visualization of the needle and the cyst during the procedure.
  • Ultrasound image is taken to document the fluid is removed.
  • After the needle is removed, a band-aid is applied to the needle entry site before you are discharged from the department. This procedure requires no stitches.