How is aspiration performed?
Aspiration may be performed in a doctor’s office, outpatient setting, or hospital by a team led by your primary doctor or specialist. Specialists are physicians with additional training in the diagnosis or treatment of certain diseases or body systems, such as an oncologist (cancer), dermatologist (skin), orthopedic surgeon (bones and joints) or radiologist.
Aspiration is often performed using local anesthesia, which is a type of nerve block. In local anesthesia, an anesthetic is injected using a tiny needle in the area to be aspirated. This numbs (blocks) only a small area around the procedure site. In some cases, aspiration is part of a minimally invasive (laparoscopic) or open surgical procedure using general anesthesia, in which you are asleep during the procedure.
Commonly performed aspiration procedures generally include these steps:
- You will remove your clothing and possibly dress in a patient gown.
- You will be lie on the examination table to allow access to the aspiration site.
- In some cases, your doctor will sedate you to make you drowsy and relaxed, and possibly a pain medication. If sedation is used, your team will monitor your vital signs.
- Your doctor will clean and numb the aspiration site.
- Your doctor will insert a needle into the appropriate area. In some cases, insertion of the biopsy needle may be guided by imaging technology, such as ultrasound or CT scan.
- Your doctor will withdraw a small amount of fluid or tissue into a syringe for testing. If excessive fluid is to be drained, it will be withdrawn with a large syringe or a device attached to the needle to collect fluid.
- If medication will be injected, your doctor will detach the syringe full of fluid from the needle and replace it with a syringe of medication. The medication can then be injected.
- Your doctor will send the fluid or tissue sample to the laboratory for evaluation.
- Your doctor will remove the needle and clean and bandage the area.
- In some cases, your doctor may leave a drain where the needle was placed to continue draining the fluid. This will be discussed with you before the procedure.
Will I feel pain?
Your comfort and relaxation is very important to both you and your care team. You may feel a pinch, discomfort or stinging when the area is numbed andpressureduring the procedure. Your doctor will give you pain and sedative medications as needed so that you stay comfortable. If you are uncomfortable in any way, tell a member of your care team.
What are the risks and potential complications of aspiration?
Complications of aspirationare uncommon. However, any procedure involves risks and the possibility of complications that may become serious in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or throughout your recovery. Risks and potential complications of aspirationinclude:
- Adverse reaction or problems related to sedation or medications, such as an allergic reaction and problems with breathing
- Headache after a lumbar puncture
- Hypotension (low blood pressure) if a large amount of fluid is removed
- Nerve injury
- Pneumothorax (air in the space around the lung that can collapse the lung) from a thoracentesis
- Pregnancy complications after amniocentesis, such as miscarriage, amniotic fluid leaking, or injury or infection to the baby
- Re-accumulation of fluid when excessive fluid is withdrawn for a treatment
- Return of pain or worsening pain
Reducing your risk of complications
You can reduce the risk of certain complications by:
- Ensuring that all members of you care team are aware of any allergies you have
- Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before your procedure and during recovery
- Informing your doctor or radiologist if you are nursing or there is any possibility that you may be pregnant
- Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, or increase in pain
- Taking your medications exactly as directed
© Copyright 2012 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.