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?

  • Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit as you will be asked to undress from the waist up.
  • Eat a light meal prior to the procedure.
  • Do not wear deodorant, lotion, or powder on your breasts, chest or under arms the day of the procedure.
  • Bring a list of any medications you are presently taking and any drug allergies. This includes vitamins, blood thinning herbal medication, and over-the-counter medications.
  • Do not take any aspirin or aspirin-like medications (ibuprofen, Motrin®, Advil®, etc.) for five days before your aspiration.
  • If you are on any prescribed aspirin therapy or blood thinning medication talk to your doctor before discontinuing.
  • Bring or wear a tight fitting bra.

What Should I Expect?

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. 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.

Follow-Up Care

The entire procedure takes five to ten minutes. A bandage is placed on your breast and regular activities can be resumed. You may remove the bandage and shower the same day. Occasionally, a small hematoma (collection of fresh blood appearing as a red lump under the skin) may occur if a small vessel is ruptured by the insertion of the needle. Tell your physician if this occurs so it can be recorded.