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Ultrasound-Guided Breast Cyst Aspiration

Why is ultrasound-guided breast cyst aspiration done?

Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs that are usually not cancerous. These round or oval lumps usually feel like a water balloon, but they can sometimes be solid.

Ultrasound-guided breast cyst aspiration is done to:

  • Find out whether a breast cyst is cancerous (a biopsy)
  • Treat the cyst if it is large and painful or uncomfortable by draining the fluid.

What is an ultrasound-guided breast cyst aspiration?

Ultrasound-guided breast cyst aspiration is done using imaging with sound waves (ultrasound) to guide a breast radiologist in draining fluid from the cyst with a fine needle. The needle is thinner than the one used for blood tests. This is an outpatient procedure.

How do I prepare for an ultrasound-guided breast cyst aspiration?

Before your breast cyst aspiration

7 days before your breast cyst aspiration, stop taking:

  • Vitamin E
  • Aspirin
  • Over-the- counter medicines containing aspirin, Motrin, and Advil
  • You can take Tylenol

If you are on aspirin therapy or a blood thinner (e.g., Coumadin):

  • Check with your doctor before stopping this medication

If you take Coumadin, you’ll need lab work (INR and PT) 1-2 days before the biopsy

  • Call your doctor if you have any questions about your current prescription and over-the- counter medicines

On the day of your breast cyst aspiration

  • Don't wear deodorant, powder, lotion, or perfume under your arms or on your breasts
  • Don't wear jewelry
  • Wear a comfortable sports bra for support after the biopsy
  • A two-piece outfit may be more comfortable.

What should I expect during the test?

  • You'll undress from the waist up and put on a gown.
  • You'll lie on a table face up or turned slightly to the side.
  • A specially trained breast radiologist will perform your breast cyst aspiration.
  • Ultrasound images will be taken to precisely guide placement of the needle, which is thinner than a needle used to take blood samples.
  • The radiologist will use the fine needle to draw out fluid or small pieces of tissue.
  • You'll be awake and should have little discomfort.

How long does an ultrasound-guided breast cyst aspiration take?

30-60 minutes.

What should I expect after the test?

After a breast cyst aspiration, you may have:

  • Bruising or discoloration
  • A little oozing or droplets of blood on the dressing or skin
  • Mild pain or discomfort and fullness at the biopsy site

On the day of the procedure:

  • Put an ice pack on the biopsy site for 30 minutes of every hour until bedtime.
  • Take Tylenol as needed every 4-6 hours for pain.
  • Wear a sports bra.

For 5 days after the procedure, do not take aspirin or any medicines that contain aspirin (Motrin or Advil).

  • Avoid strenuous activity for 24-48 hours.

The next day:

  • You can go back to your normal activities, including work.
  • Remove the dressing.
  • Do not remove the steri-strips (thin tape), which will fall off on their own (if the tape doesn’t fall off
    after 7 days, you can take it off).
  • Shower but avoid scrubbing the biopsy site hard.

If you have:

  • Excessive bleeding, put firm pressure on the biopsy site for at least 20 minutes. If this doesn’t stop the bleeding, call us during regular business hours.
  • Excessive pain, discharge, redness, swelling, or warmth, call us during regular business hours.
  • If you have a concern outside of normal business hours, please call your physician.

When will I get the results?

The radiologist doing the procedure will let you know if a sample will be sent to the pathology lab for analysis. If so, it takes about 3-5 days to get the results from the pathology lab.

We’ll send the results to your doctor right away. Your doctor will discuss the results with you.