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Skin Cyst

(Epidermoid Cyst, Pilar Cysts, Skin Cyst)

A cyst is simply a noncancerous balloon of collected oil, shed skin cells, and keratin present under the skin. True Sebaceous cysts that are cysts filled with oil are rare compared to those filled with a yellow toothpaste consistency collection of keratin. These cysts are either Pilar or Epidermoid Cysts. Pilar Cysts can run in families causing many family members to suffer from multiple cysts.

If you have had acne during puberty, you will have a greater chance of having Epidermoid or Skin Cysts.

The commonest location of these cysts is the scalp, face, neck, and trunk.

Generally, you will see a small black dot or hole on the top of this dome-shaped swelling from which occasionally there will be yellow pus-like discharge (especially if you squeeze it). These skin cysts are generally painless unless they grow too big or get infected.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an Epidermoid and Pilar Cyst?

Both Epidermoid and Pilar Cysts are Skin Cysts filled with a yellow toothpaste kind of material composed of keratin and shed skin cells. The difference between can truly be made under a microscope where the inside lining of the balloon of material in the Epidermoid Cyst resembles the skin's epidermis layer, whereas that of the Pilar Cyst resembles cells in the growth centre of the hair follicle.

But on the surface, it is difficult to differentiate between the two.

Can I squeeze out or drain a Sebaceous Cyst? Is it safe to lance a sebaceous cyst at home?

It is certainly not safe to lance or attempt to burst a Skin Cyst at home.

There is a risk of introducing infection. Also, while you might squeeze out some of the contents, you will cause some of the contents to be pushed deeper into the skin tissue. This will cause further problems and possible recurrences of the cyst.

How do you treat a Sebaceous Cyst? What is Cyst Excision?

There are basically two ways of dealing with Skin Cysts that are not infected.

Total surgical excision: involves removal of the entire balloon of the cyst intact.

Small incision removal: involves making a small cut and then scooping out all the contents, including the lining of the cyst. While this results in a better cosmetic outcome in terms of the length of the scar, given that some bits of the lining might be left behind, there is a greater chance of recurrence.

What is the treatment for an infected skin cyst or Sebaceous Cyst?

If the infection is at an early stage, your doctor might give you some oral antibiotics. If your sebaceous cyst has become an abscess, your doctor will advise you of a two-step strategy. At first, the cyst will be incised and drained under aseptic precautions in the surgery, and you will start a course of antibiotics. About 4-6 weeks later, once the inflammation has settled, your doctor will try to remove the left-over sac of the cyst with a small surgery under local anesthesia.


* All prices quoted apply to surgery done at World Class clinic in Mumbai, India and are subject to variation based on prevalent exchange rates.

At Reforme Medical Clinic, Cardiff, UK, the costs of having a Skin Cyst removed relate to the size and complexity involved but generally, the charges start from £200 onwards.

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Disclaimer: The content on this website is purely generated for awareness and educating purposes only. This shall not be considered as a substitute for professional advice or prescription. Every individual and their case is different, so the results mentioned on the website may vary from person to person.

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