Breast Cyst Aspiration FAQs

A breast cyst is a fluid-filled pouch that may develop in women's breasts.

No. Although breast cysts may cause discomfort, they are usually not cancerous.

Breast cyst aspiration, which is the draining of the cyst, is usually performed to determine whether or not the cyst is cancerous. In many cases, the cyst collapses upon aspiration.

Breast cyst aspiration is a safe procedure, with no associated risks. Radiation is not used during the procedure.

There is no special preparation for breast cyst aspiration.

Breast cyst aspiration is performed as an outpatient procedure with local anesthetic. Fine-needle aspiration and ultrasound-guided aspiration are two ways of performing the procedure. Both involve inserting a needle into the cyst to drain it; an ultrasound-guided procedure adds ultrasound to help guide the needle. Regardless of which is used, the patient may experience mild discomfort.

At the end of the breast cyst aspiration procedure, bandages and an ice pack are applied to the site of the aspiration, and the patient returns home. The area may feel numb until the anesthetic wears off, but that usually happens quickly. Normal activities can be resumed the next day.

A breast-cyst aspiration provides accurate results about 80 percent of the time.

Results are often available immediately after the procedure. When the fluid drained from a cyst is watery and does not contain blood, and the cyst goes away after the fluid is removed, it means that the cyst is not cancerous. If the fluid appears bloody, a sample is sent to a lab for further testing; results are usually available in a few days.

Yes. Even if the cyst is successfully drained, 4 to 6 weeks later it is checked to make sure it has not refilled with fluid. If it has, surgical removal may be necessary.

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