Cyst aspiration removes fluid from a fluid-filled nodule called a cyst. During the procedure, the skin is sterilized and a local anesthetic is administered. Once the area is numb, a needle is inserted into the patient's skin, often using ultrasound guidance. The tip of the needle is placed in the cyst and fluid is withdrawn until the cyst is emptied and collapses. It is important that the wall of the cyst be completely removed in order to avoid regrowth.
Although cysts may appear on any part of the body, they are commonly found in breasts, ovaries and kidneys, or on the skin. Most cysts are benign, regardless of their location, although on rare occasions it is possible for a cyst to become malignant.
Most of the time, cysts are removed through fine-needle aspiration but, on occasion, they may rupture spontaneously. Although most cysts are not painful, if a cyst ruptures, particularly in the intestinal tract or an ovary, it may be dangerous. Patients whose cysts have ruptured may experience intense pain, dizziness, fever or fainting, and require immediate medical attention.
If a breast cyst was initially detected on a mammogram, rather than through physical examination, an X-ray may be taken after the procedure to confirm that the cyst has been completely removed.
No bandages are required after cyst aspiration, and there should be no aftereffects. Cyst aspiration takes less than 5 minutes to perform. The fluid extracted from a cyst is sent to a pathology lab to confirm that the cyst is benign.