Breast Cyst Drainage

What is breast cyst drainage?

Breast cyst drainage is a procedure that uses a needle to remove fluid from a cyst in your breast.

During your menstrual cycle, hormone changes cause sacs in your breast tissue to get bigger and fill with fluid. These areas are called cysts. Cysts are most common in women who are 35 to 50 years old, or women who use hormone replacement therapy. You may also get a cyst after breast surgery or an injury to your breast.

A breast cyst can be felt when you are doing a breast self-exam, or may be found during a mammogram.

When is it used?

This procedure may be done:

  • If you have a cyst that is causing discomfort
  • To test the fluid in the cyst for cancer cells.
  • The cyst makes it harder for you or your provider to feel the area behind the cyst during a breast exam.

How do I prepare for this procedure?

  • Follow any instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
  • Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what your healthcare provider is going to do and what you should expect during recovery. You have the right to make decisions about your healthcare and to give permission for tests or procedures.

What happens during this procedure?

You may be given a local anesthetic. A local anesthetic numbs the skin and tissue near the cyst.

Your provider will place a needle into the cyst in your breast and remove the fluid. Ultrasound may be used to guide the needle to the cyst if your provider cannot feel the lump. The fluid may be sent to a lab for tests. Breast cysts are very common, but it is rare for one to contain cancer cells.

What happens after this procedure?

A small bandage may be placed on the needle site. You may feel and see a little bruising in the area.

Ask your healthcare provider:

  • How and when you will hear your test results
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure and any risks. Some possible risks include:

  • Anesthesia has some risks. Discuss these risks with your healthcare provider.
  • You may have infection or bleeding at the site.
  • Sometimes the cyst will refill with fluid.
  • You may need follow up tests such as a mammogram or ultrasound, if:
    • The fluid is bloody.
    • The cyst is solid instead of filled with fluid.
    • The lump does not go away.

There is risk with every treatment or procedure. Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-03-18
Last reviewed: 2014-03-17
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

Patient Portal

Our Patient Portal provides safe and secure online access to better communicate with your Tufts Medical Center Community Care doctor. This easy-to-use web tool is a convenient way to book appointments, request referrals, renew prescriptions, view medical records/test results and communicate with your healthcare provider from the privacy of your own computer.