What is Cyst Aspiration?
Breast cyst aspiration is a procedure performed to drain a fluid-filled pouch that has formed in breast tissue. The purpose of aspiration is to relieve symptoms, and to provide, if necessary, fluid for laboratory examination. Breast cysts are usually discovered by mammogram or ultrasound. Such cysts are common and may cause discomfort, but are usually benign. Because a small percentage of breast cysts are malignant, however, they must be checked carefully to see whether further treatment is required.
Breast cyst aspiration is performed using a fine needle. Frequently, the aspiration itself will remove enough fluid to promote healing in a benign cyst. At times, however, the cyst will refill and require another aspiration. Breast cyst aspiration is usually performed using local anesthetic applied at the site of the cyst. Once the area is numb, the cyst is injected with a fine needle, smaller than the needle used for blood withdrawal. An ultrasound is sometimes performed to obtain a better view of the cyst. An attempt will be made to drain the cyst using a syringe.
Cysts containing a watery fluid that disappears immediately after aspiration are usually noncancerous, requiring no further testing. If the cyst refills, if the fluid is bloody, or if there is solid tissue aspirated rather than fluid, a sample is sent to a lab for testing. The pathology results from cyst aspiration are rapidly available. Regardless of the results, a patient usually returns to her doctor for a follow-up visit about a month after the procedure.
Breast cyst aspiration is a safe procedure, with few associated risks. These include discomfort at the site, bruising and the possibility of infection where the needle was inserted.
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