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Sebaceous Cysts


WhoSebaceous Cysts

What are cysts and why do they form?

Cysts are smooth round bumps resembling small marbles appearing under the skin. These can occur in children or adults, and are commonly seen on the face, scalp or trunk. They often contain a strong smelling cheesy material that can be expressed through a small opening. Cysts may occur due to a blockage of the usual skin shedding process, resulting in skin cells moving deeper and forming a keratin filled sac. Cysts can also originate from enlarged oil producing glands. Sometimes cysts can be hereditary. For example, in the condition steatocystoma multiplex, multiple cysts are found in individuals of the same family.

Are cysts dangerous? Should they be removed?

Cysts are harmless but will not disappear without treatment. They may grow in size over time, and occasionally become inflamed or infected. Some people choose to leave their cysts alone. Others choose to remove cysts that are increasing in size or are aesthetically displeasing. It is often sensible to remove cysts early, before symptoms occur or worsen. Sebaceous cyst removal is a practical and safe choice for anyone experiencing pain or discomfort. Resist the temptation to pop or squeeze a cyst as it will invariably refill and may even cause an infection.

How are cysts diagnosed and treated?

Your dermatologist can usually diagnose a cyst just by how it looks. The treatment options will then be discussed and includes monitoring, antibiotic treatment or surgical removal. Your trained dermatological surgeon will be able to perform your choice of treatment to the highest standard.

How are uninfected cysts removed?

For uncomplicated cysts, we often perform removal using the minimal excision technique. This is a simple and effective technique which leaves minimal scarring and a very low rate of recurrence. Instead of simply squeezing out or draining the contents of the cyst, the entire cyst wall and cyst contents are removed, minimizing any risk of the cyst coming back. Once numbing injection is placed around the cyst, the procedure is usually fast and painless. A small cut is made on the surface of the skin to remove the much larger cyst below. The resulting scar is usually small and cosmetically pleasing.

How are infected cysts treated?

Infected cysts often present as red, hot painful and swollen lumps on the skin. These are usually first treated with antibiotics, steroid injections or drainage. Once the inflammation resolves, your dermatological surgeon will advise complete cyst removal to prevent it from becoming symptomatic again.

Can cysts be treated on the same day of consultation?

Do contact us if you have a problematic sebaceous cyst requiring fast and effective treatment. We are able to offer same-day removal service for uninfected cysts in our on-site day surgery facility. This can remove the bump from your skin and leave you blemish free in hours. The resulting wound is usually small and and will fade over time to leave a faint scar.