Feeling a new bump or change in your breasts can be frightening, because your first thought may be that the growth is due to breast cancer. However, it’s important to remain calm and see your doctor, who can refer you to an imaging center in San Antonio for a definitive diagnosis. When a mammogram or other imaging exam reveals a breast cyst, your radiologist may recommend ultrasound-guided breast cyst aspiration, which is a simple, outpatient procedure. Ultrasound imaging is ideal for guiding the procedure, because ultrasound provides images with real-time movement using high-frequency sound waves, which do not expose the body to ionizing radiation. If your doctor has recommended this procedure, read on to learn some basic facts that will help you prepare.
Breast cyst aspiration is minimally invasive.
During a breast cyst aspiration, a needle will be guided to the cyst, and it will withdraw fluid from inside of the growth. The procedure only requires a small needle stick, so it does not carry the same risks as more invasive surgeries or biopsies. On the day of the procedure, you should wear comfortable clothing, avoid deodorant and perfume, and be prepared to spend about an hour under the radiologist’s care. The breast will be numbed to reduce any discomfort.
The procedure is not necessarily indicative of breast cancer.
Having a breast cyst does not mean that you have breast cancer. Benign growths in the breasts are common, and these are often the cause for aspiration procedures. Even if cancer is detected, your diagnosis may come earlier than it would have without this testing, so your prognosis may be greatly improved.
Results from aspiration are not immediately available.
Like other imaging procedures, breast cyst aspiration does not have immediate results. Your radiologist will share the results of the test with your doctor, who will inform you of the outcome. Results are determined in part by the color of the fluid removed from the cyst, as the absence of blood will indicate that the growth is likely non-cancerous.
Most women are familiar with mammograms, which are standard screening procedures to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. One procedure that you may have more questions about is galactography, which may also be referred to as ductography. This exam will take images of the inside of the milk ducts in the breasts, which may be necessary when women have the symptom of bloody or clear discharge from the breast without other abnormalities in a standard mammogram.
Galactography is a lot like a mammogram from the patient’s perspective, but it does involve preparation with a special contrast dye to focus images on the milk ducts. To prepare for the exam, you should simply avoid squeezing the nipple and show up to your appointment in comfortable clothing. Just like any other mammogram, galactography will require that you stay completely still as the images are taken, and you may feel slight discomfort as the machine compresses the breast to acquire clean, readable images.
Getting an X-ray is a simple, painless process that should not take more than about an hour from the start of your imaging appointment. If your doctor has referred you to Concord Imaging Center for an X-ray near San Antonio, you don’t have to do much to prepare. You should, however, take the following steps to make your visit go smoothly.
Wear the Right Clothing
You may be asked to wear a gown for your X-ray, depending on the area of the body being imaged. To ensure that you can move freely if you do not wear a gown, come to your appointment in comfortable clothing that’s easy to remove if necessary. You should also avoid wearing jewelry or be prepared to take off any jewelry once you arrive. Finally, refrain from applying skincare products like deodorant or lotion prior to your appointment.
Ask Your Doctor If You Can Eat Beforehand
Sometimes eating before an X-ray will not interfere with results, but other situations may require you to avoid food for a few hours before the exam. Ask your doctor to be sure, and inquire about any other preparations you may need to do.
Schedule a Follow-Up with Your Physician
X-ray technicians will not discuss your X-rays with you on the spot. Instead, a radiologist will interpret your results and report back to your referring physician. Your doctor will take the time to inform you of the results of your exam and walk you through the next steps, so you might schedule this visit before you even have the X-ray done.
Inform Your Radiologist of Existing Health Conditions
If you have any preexisting health conditions, you should inform the radiologist before your X-ray. In addition to any health problems, you should mention if there is a chance that you could be pregnant, since ionizing radiation can be harmful to your developing child.
Migraines can be frustrating for patients, because they do not always have clear causes. Imaging exams such as X-rays and MRIs in San Antonio may be helpful for identifying the root cause of migraines, but they are not necessarily helpful in every situation. This video offers some insight into when MRI is indicated for individuals who are suffering from migraine headaches, providing physicians with some clear guidelines on when imaging will become most useful. In cases where patients are over the age of 50 and experiencing a new type of headache, for example, an MRI may be helpful in ruling out other neurological causes for headaches.
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