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 a er the biopsy
  • Feel free to bring a CD to listen to during the procedure (we have a CD player)
  • 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.

When should I call University Radiology?

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.
  • Excessive pain, discharge, redness, swelling, or warmth, call us.

Call University Radiology:

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday:
Call the office where you had your procedure

Emergencies outside of normal business hours:
Call our 24/7 Call Center: 732-955-8877
Ask to speak to the radiologist or resident on call

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.

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