Ultrasound Guided Cyst Aspiration (Fine Needle Aspiration)

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An ultrasound guided cyst aspiration is a minimally invasive procedure that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to pinpoint a cyst and guide a thin needle into the cyst to remove fluid.

Need to Know

Nice to Know
  • If you take blood thinners, talk to your doctor beforehand about adjusting or stopping this medication
  • Wear a comfortable two piece outfit and wear/bring a supportive bra (sports bra)
  • Inform the staff of any allergies to latex, lidocaine or if you currently take any blood thinning medications
  • You will receive post procedure instructions including what to do if you experience swelling, bruising, drainage or have redness or warmth at the site following your biopsy or experience any discomfort not resolved with non-aspirin pain relief
  • Temporary bruising is normal
  • The procedure is usually completed in less than an hour – this includes pre and post procedure care. The cyst aspiration itself takes only a few minutes
  • Breast cysts range in size from smaller than a pea to larger than a ping pong ball. Large cysts can sometimes feel like a lump.
  • Breast cysts are common especially in women age 40-60 and may occur in up to 20-50% of reproductive age women at some time in their life
  • Ultrasound uses sound waves and is not an x-ray
  • A local anesthesia will be used and the staff will closely monitor your pain status. You should have little or no discomfort.
  • You will be able to resume normal activities after the procedure

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Why is This Exam Done?

The Ultrasound will show whether the lump is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid lump. It also shows whether a cyst is a "simple cyst" or "complex cyst." An Ultrasound Guided Cyst Aspiration will remove fluid from inside a breast lump.

What Will Happen During the Exam?

  • A specially trained Radiologist will perform the procedure assisted by a Sonographer or Mammographer
  • You will be asked to remove any clothing above your waist and change into a gown
  • You will lie on your back and will be asked to turn slightly up onto your side with supportive pads placed behind you
  • Warm gel will be applied to your breast and the ultrasound transducer/probe will be moved on the breast to locate the cyst within your breast
  • Your breast will be cleansed and numbed with a local anesthetic which initially may cause a slight sting. Your breast will become numb within a short time.
  • A thin needle will be inserted into your breast and guided with ultrasound directly into the cyst
  • Fluid will be drained into a syringe
  • Depending on the appearance, the fluid will either be discarded or sent to the laboratory for analysis
  • Pressure will be applied to the procedure site for a few minutes, a bandage applied and cold/ice packs provided
  • You may have a mammogram with limited compression to ensure that the cyst is gone
  • Post procedure instructions will be provided
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How Should I Prepare?

  • There are no diet restrictions, eat and drink as usual
  • You may perform normal daily activities prior to the procedure
  • Take usual medications on exam day unless asked not to
  • Aspirin and anticoagulants increase the risk of bleeding and bruising
    - Patients taking anticoagulants (blood-thinners) or aspirin may be asked to stop using them for a few days prior to the procedure
  • Herbal substances that affect bleeding, such as Gingko biloba, should be stopped prior to the breast biopsy
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What Are the Benefits and Risks?

The benefits of Breast Biopsy (Fine Needle Aspiration):

  • Can verify that the cyst is a simple cyst- fluid-filled sacs
  • Removal of fluid will provide relief for painful cysts

Risks you should be aware of:

  • Bleeding - unusual
  • Hematoma, or a collection of blood at the biopsy site can occur. Less than 1% of patients.
  • Bruising – resolves within a few weeks
  • Infection - Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. Less than 1 in 1,000 patients.
  • Cysts may recur after the aspiration
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Where Can I Get This Exam?

We perform breast biopsies in our Farmington office.

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