Breast Cyst Aspiration

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What is a breast cyst?

A breast cyst is a fluid-filled sac (like a tiny balloon) inside the breast. Breast cysts are common in women. They might cause a little pain, but they are usually benign (not cancerous).

What is breast cyst aspiration?

In breast cyst aspiration, your doctor uses a small needle to drain fluid from a cyst.

When is breast cyst aspiration used?

A breast lump that you can feel might hurt or make you worry about cancer. Breast cyst aspiration can help your doctor find out if the lump you feel is a cyst or a tumor. Aspiration gives you this information right away, so you don't have to wait for the results of a mammogram or an ultrasound exam.

How is breast cyst aspiration performed?

Your doctor might numb your skin first. Then, your doctor will insert a small needle into the breast lump. He or she may use an ultrasound to get a better picture of the lump. Using a syringe, your doctor will try to drain fluid from the lump.

If the lump is a cyst that contains watery fluid and the cyst goes away after it is drained, you will not need other tests.

If the lump contains bloody fluid, your doctor will send the fluid to a lab to find out what it is. If the lump is solid, your doctor may need to remove a tiny bit of the lump and send it to a lab to be examined. At the lab, the fluid or sample from the lump can be examined under a microscope to look for cancer cells.

What are the benefits of breast cyst aspiration?

Your doctor may be able to diagnose your breast lump on the same day that you get the aspiration. If the lump is clearly a cyst, you will know right away, and you might not need to have other tests performed.

What are the risks of breast cyst aspiration?

Before you have breast cyst aspiration, your doctor will talk to you about possible problems. You might have some discomfort where the needle goes in. You might have a little bruise on your breast. You might get an infection where the needle goes in.

Do I need to see my doctor again after I have breast cyst aspiration?

Yes. If the lump in your breast is a cyst and the cyst is drained successfully, your doctor will want to check the area in 4 to 6 weeks to make sure that the cyst has not filled up with fluid again. This follow-up visit is important. A cyst that refills with fluid can be a problem. If you have a cyst that refills at any time, call your doctor.

Source

Breast Cyst Aspiration by Jamee H. Lucas, M.D., and D. Lindsie Cone, M.D. (American Family Physician November 15, 2003, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20031115/1983.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 08/10
Created: 12/04

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