Ultrasound-Guided Cyst Aspiration


WHAT IS AN ULTRASOUND-GUIDED CYST ASPIRATION?

Ultrasound-guided cyst aspiration is a simple procedure performed by placing an ultrasound probe over the site of a breast cyst and numbing the area with local anesthesia.  The breast radiologist then places a small needle directly into the cyst and withdraws fluid.


HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE PROCEDURE?

Although ultrasound-guided cyst aspiration is a minimally invasive procedure, there is risk of bleeding whenever the skin is penetrated.  For this reason, if you are taking aspirin, you are advised to stop 7 days before the procedure.  Please inform our staff if you have a known bleeding problem or have been taking blood thinners.  If so, we will need to coordinate your procedure with your referring physician.

Avoid the use of underarm powder or deodorant before the procedure.

Wear comfortable, two-piece clothing.

An ultrasound-guided cyst aspiration usually does not require post-procedure care, but this procedure may be changed to an ultrasound-guided core biopsy if no fluid is obtained; therefore, you may want a friend or relative to accompany you to lend support and to drive you home afterwards.

 


CAN I EAT BEFORE THE PROCEDURE?

Yes, you may eat a light meal before the procedure.

 


HOW IS THE PROCEDURE PERFORMED?

You will be lying on your back or slightly turned on your side.  An ultrasound probe is used to locate the cyst.  Your breast will be cleansed with an antiseptic.  Next, the radiologist will numb the part of the breast close to the location of the cyst by injecting local anesthetic with a tiny needle.  You may feel a little stick and some very brief stinging at this point.  After the local anesthetic has taken effect, the radiologist, while constantly monitoring the cyst site with the ultrasound probe, guides a small needle directly into the cyst and attempts to withdraw fluid.  If no fluid can be obtained, the procedure will be converted to a core biopsy.

When the procedure is completed, sterile gauze will be pressed against the area for several minutes to prevent bleeding.  Polysporin ointment and a band-aid will be placed over the needle puncture site. 

The radiologist or the nurse will then discuss what to expect after the examination and what to do when you get home.  Most patients may resume their normal activities the day of the cyst aspiration.


HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?

The entire ultrasound-guided cyst aspiration should take approximately one hour or less. 


WHEN DO I GET THE RESULTS?

If fluid is obtained during the procedure that is any color other than black or bloody, it is considered benign and is discarded.  If the fluid is black or bloody, it will be sent to UNC Pathology for review.  A diagnosis will be available within three to four business days.  If you are seen by the UNC Surgical Breast Clinic, you should obtain your results from them; otherwise, you need to contact the radiologist who performed your biopsy to obtain your results.