Cysts are very common. Although they cannot be accurately diagnosed with physical examination or mammography alone, they can usually be diagnosed accurately with ultrasound. In most women, they do not usually require any intervention or follow-up.
Cyst aspirations are done when a cyst is causing significant tenderness or when the diagnosis of a cyst remains in question following the ultrasound.
About the Procedure
For a cyst aspiration, you usually lie on your back or slightly turned to one side with your arm placed comfortably under your head.
The skin is cleaned with betadine and alcohol and then numbed with topical anesthesia (1 percent lidocaine). Using ultrasound guidance, a small needle is advanced into the cyst and suction is applied to draw the fluid out, causing the lump to collapse.
The aspirated fluid may be discarded or, if bloody, sent for evaluation. Following aspiration, cysts may recur.
If breast cancer is suspected following a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound or MRI, we may recommend one of the following procedures to establish an exact diagnosis: