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Aspiration

Definition

Aspiration means to draw in or out using a sucking motion. It has two meanings:

  • Aspiration can mean breathing in a foreign object (such as sucking food into the airway).
  • The term can also refer to a medical procedure that removes something from an area of the body. These substances can be air, body fluids, or bone fragments. An example is removing ascites fluid from the belly area.

Aspiration as a medical procedure may also be used to remove tissue samples for a biopsy. This is sometimes called a needle biopsy or aspirate. For example, aspiration of a breast lesion.   

References

O’Donnell AE. Bronchiectasis, atelectasis, cysts, and localized lung disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 90.

Martin P. Approach to the patient with liver disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 148.

Davidson N. Breast cancer and differential diagnosis of benign lesions. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 204.


Review Date: 11/4/2012
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, and Stephanie Slon.
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