What is Puncture Aspiration of a Breast Cyst?
Puncture aspiration of a breast cyst, also known as cyst aspiration, is a diagnostic procedure used to empty a breast cyst. It is an important tool in diagnosis and management of benign (non-cancerous) breast cysts. During this procedure, a doctor or radiologist inserts a needle into the breast to remove fluid from the cyst, which may then be evaluated microscopically.
A breast cyst is an abnormal collection of fluid within the breast tissue. Investigators estimate that approximately 50% of women between ages 25 and 60 may have at least one cyst. The cysts are often benign, but may also be indicative of something more serious. Puncture aspiration of the breast is an outpatient procedure used to help physicians identify the cause of the cyst or determine whether it is benign or cancerous.
What to Expect During the Aspiration Procedure?
The patient is positioned lying face-down on a table and the breast affected by the cyst is treated using local anesthesia. In most cases, the cyst can be identified upon visual inspection and ultrasound. A small needle is then inserted into the breast tissue and guided into the cyst. Once the needle is in place, the physician may use a syringe to draw out the fluid from the cyst. In some cases, a small amount of anesthetic may be injected to reduce discomfort. The procedure typically takes less than 15 minutes and patients may resume normal activities immediately after.
Benefits of Breast Cyst Aspiration
Puncture aspiration of a breast cyst offers a number of benefits to patients and physicians. Most importantly, the procedure can help to determine whether the cyst is benign or malignant. Additionally, the procedure allows physicians to better manage benign cysts by allowing them to drain the cyst and reduce the size. Furthermore, by helping physicians distinguish benign from malignant cysts, the procedure can help to reduce the risk of unnecessary biopsies and other invasive treatments.
After the procedure, the fluid obtained from the cyst is sent to a laboratory for testing. In most cases, the results are available in a matter of days. The results allow the physician to determine the type of cyst (benign or malignant), as well as the type of treatment required. If the cyst is benign, no further treatment may be necessary. If the cyst is malignant, a biopsy or other treatments may be recommended. Furthermore, if the aspiration results are inconclusive, the physician may recommend repeating the procedure. In some cases, the aspiration procedure may be used to monitor the cyst over time.
Puncture aspiration of a breast cyst is an important procedure for the diagnosis and management of benign cysts. The procedure has a number of benefits, including the ability to help physicians distinguish between benign and malignant cysts and drain and reduce the size of benign cysts. The procedure is safe and effective and the results typically provide physicians with the information necessary to determine the type of treatment required.
Definition & Overview
A puncture aspiration is a medical procedure used to remove a cyst (an abnormal fluid-filled lump) from the breast. Some of them may grow too large or cause some pain, so they are removed. To remove them, doctors drain the fluid inside the cyst. A puncture aspiration is an effective way to do so and to find out if a cyst is cancerous or not.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
A puncture aspiration is good for people who have a cyst in the breast. The procedure can:
- Remove the cyst
- Determine if the cyst is cancerous or not
It is especially effective for most fluid-filled cysts, such as hydatid cysts, but can only be used for uncomplicated cysts.
A breast cyst is a lump in the breast that contains fluid. There are two kinds of cysts. Microcysts are small cysts that cannot be felt on the outside and can only be detected by an ultrasound or mammogram. Macrocysts are larger cysts that can be felt on the outside. They can grow up to 2 inches in diameter. These larger cysts are most likely to cause pain and other potential problems.
Breast cysts can be caused by several possible reasons, such as hormonal changes and high oestrogen levels.
There are three possible results after a puncture aspiration. The results give the doctors more important information about the cyst.
- The fluid drains out and the cyst disappears
- The fluid drains out but the cyst does not disappear; the fluid can also be bloody
- No fluid is drained out
If the doctor successfully drains fluid out and gets rid of the cyst, the patient can go home without other treatment. The fluid taken from the cyst can also be thrown away. But if the fluid is bloody and the cyst does not disappear, the doctor will send the fluid to a laboratory. Doctors who specialise in dealing with cysts will further examine it to determine its composition. These doctors are called cytologists. They can determine whether the cyst is cancerous or not.
If the doctor does not drain out any fluid, this means that the cyst is made up of solid material. If so, the doctor will want to get a sample of it through a biopsy to check for cancer cells. Solid breast lumps cannot be removed through puncture aspiration. They can only be removed through surgery.
How is the Procedure Performed?
A puncture aspiration of a breast cyst is a quick and simple procedure. During the procedure, doctors use ultrasound or a mammogram as their visual guide. These help them locate the cyst.
The following are the steps taken to perform the procedure:
- The patient is asked to lie on her back on the exam table. She will be asked to remove her upper body clothes and raise one arm above her head.
- The patient will be given local anaesthesia. This way, she won’t feel any pain during the procedure.
- The doctor will put a clear gel on the patient’s breast. Next, the doctor will press an ultrasound transducer or probe on the patient’s breast to find the cyst.
- Once the cyst is found, the patient’s breast is cleaned. The needle is then inserted all the way into the cyst.
- The doctor will then aspirate the contents of the cyst through the needle.
- The puncture site is then covered with a dressing or bandage.
If the patient’s cyst is too small, doctors use mammograms instead of ultrasound.
Patients who undergo puncture aspiration of a breast cyst should visit their doctor after 4 to 6 weeks. This way, the doctor can check if the cyst has not filled up with fluid again. If the cyst fills up with fluid again, the patient will have to undergo more tests to check for underlying problems that may be causing the recurrent cysts.
Possible Risks and Complications
The puncture aspiration of a cyst in the breast may be painful or uncomfortable for some patients. The procedure is also not free from risks. Patients who have their breast cyst aspirated through this procedure are at risk of:
- Breast pain
- Punctured blood vessels
Patients who have breast implants are also at risk of having their implants punctured by mistake during the procedure. This is more likely to occur if the cyst is too close to the implants.
If the cyst is deep within the breast, patients may also face the risk of lung perforation and lung collapse.
Aside from that, patients who undergo puncture aspiration can get cysts again. Cysts can fill up with fluid again on the same site, or new cysts can also grow.
Borecky N. “Breast fine needle aspiration.” The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists. 2015 Oct 28. http://www.insideradiology.com.au/pages/view.php?T_id=59#.V77juYQz7dk
Park KH, Jung Si, Jang HC, Shin JH. “First successful puncture, aspiration, injection, and re-aspiration of hydatid cyst in the liver presenting with anaphylactic shock in Korea.” Yonsei Medical Journal. 2009 Oct 31, 50(5): 17-720. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2768250/