In many cases when a mammogram, physical examination or other diagnostic tool detects a lump in a woman’s breast, the patient’s doctor will order the lump to be aspirated to determine if the lump is a cyst or another type of growth. Lumps that are “cystic” contain fluid, which when removed during the aspiration procedure, usually disappears. If during the aspiration procedure, the lump does not contain fluid, the Radiologist will send the aspirated material to a pathology lab for examination and analysis to determine the exact cause of the cyst. In many cases ultrasound is used to assist the highly trained and skilled radiologist in locating the exact location of the lump.
During the aspiration procedure, which is done on an outpatient basis, the patient is made completely comfortable with a local anesthetic and the procedure is usually over with very quickly. Once the cyst aspiration is over, the patient may feel slight soreness in the area of the aspiration, however the Radiologist will recommend an over the counter painkiller or write a prescription for a mild painkiller. Scheduling cyst aspirations is quick and easy as well. The results will be available quickly from the Pathologist as well, allowing the patient and their doctor to take the next steps in treatment if the results of the aspiration are not what they hoped for.
Regular mammograms and breast exams are just two of the tools available to patients and their doctors to detect breast cancer very early. Prompt aspiration of a lump in the breast is necessary to determine and treat the cause of the lump. The early detection of the disease, as well as current treatment options, is critical to the patient’s long-term prognosis!
Posted on behalf of Diagnostic Radiology