Aspiration and Drainage

When fluid abnormally fills a cyst or collects in the body it may be removed with a very thin needle guided by computed tomography (CT), X-ray or ultrasound. An interventional radiologist performs these aspiration and drainage procedures. The needle must be inserted in exactly the right place after close inspection and interpretation of images provided by these radiological technologies.

Often, the fluid that is withdrawn is analyzed for the presence of infection. If there is an infection the radiologist will perform an abscess draining procedure.

Preparation for the procedure

If you are having fluid aspirated:

  • Do not eat or drink fluids other than water before the procedure
  • Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking
  • You may have a blood draw and/or an IV attached
  • Your doctor will review the procedure with you including potential risks

Whether you are having fluid aspirated or an abscess drained, you can plan to be in the Radiology department for up to an hour.

For a more in depth look at this procedure, visit our Health Library page on this topic.