Cyst Aspiration

A cyst aspiration is a type of breast biopsy used to examine suspicious tissue. If a lump on the breast is likely to be filled with fluid and is easily accessible, a breast surgeon may choose to conduct a fine-needle aspiration, or cyst aspiration biopsy.

The doctor uses an extremely thin, hollow needle attached to a syringe to withdraw (aspirate) a small amount of tissue from the suspicious area and check for the presence of cancerous cells. If the fluid is clear, the lump is most likely a cyst, and not cancer. If the lump is solid, the doctor will remove small pieces of tissue for further examination.

A cyst aspiration is an outpatient procedure performed most often in the doctor’s office. Local anesthetic may numb the area first. It only takes about 15 seconds to get each biopsy sample. The entire procedure is typically less than 30 minutes. In a cyst aspiration, no skin is cut, no stitches are needed, and there is usually no scar.

The removed cells are examined under a microscope for the presence of breast cancer. About 80 percent of women who have a breast biopsy do not have cancer.

While the cyst aspiration is the easiest type of biopsy to have, it can sometimes miss a cancer if the needle does not go into the cancerous cells. If the results do not give a clear diagnosis, your doctor may request a second biopsy or a different type of biopsy.