Breast Aspiration

Breast aspiration is a procedure that is used to help characterize abnormalities found in the breast.

If you or your doctor identifies a breast lump, your doctor may recommend a diagnostic mammogram or a breast ultrasound. Breast ultrasound can help determine whether the mass is fluid-filled or solid. A fluid-filled area usually indicates a breast cyst. A solid-appearing mass is most likely a non-cancerous lump, but it could also be breast cancer.

If the mass is fluid-filled, or solid but easily felt, your doctor may perform a fine-needle aspiration.

Fine-Needle Aspiration

During a fine-needle aspiration procedure, your doctor inserts a very thin needle into the breast lump and attempts to draw out fluid. Often, fine-needle is done using ultrasound to guide and verify accurate placement of the needle.

If fluid comes out and the breast lump disappears, the lump can be diagnosed as a breast cyst:

  • If the fluid is not bloody and the breast lump disappears, no further testing or treatment is needed.
  • If the fluid appears bloody or the breast lump remains, your doctor may send a sample of the fluid to the lab for testing. Your doctor may also refer you to a breast surgeon or a radiologist for follow-up and further testing.

If no fluid is withdrawn, your doctor will likely recommend an imaging test, such as a diagnostic mammogram or a breast ultrasound. Your doctor may also collect a sample of cells to check for breast cancer.

Conveniently located at the RWJBarnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston, NJ, The Breast Center's goal is to exceed the individual expectations of each patient, to decrease the stress commonly associated with breast testing, and to promote breast health and wellness.