Sebaceous Cyst Excision
Sebaceous cysts are common noncancerous cysts of the skin mostly found on the face, neck, or torso. Cysts are abnormal sacs in the body that may contain liquid or semiliquid material.
Sebaceous cysts grow slowly and aren’t life-threatening, but they may become uncomfortable if they go unchecked. Doctors normally diagnose a cyst with only a physical examination and a medical history. In certain cases, a cyst will be examined more thoroughly for signs of cancer.
Causes of a sebaceous cyst
Sebaceous cysts form out of your sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland produces the oil (known as sebum) that covers your hair and skin. Cysts can develop if the gland or its duct becomes damaged or blocked. This normally occurs due to a trauma to the area.
The trauma may be a scratch, a surgical wound or a skin condition like acne. Sebaceous cysts grow slowly, so the trauma may have happened weeks or months before you notice the cyst. Other causes of a sebaceous cyst include:
Damage to the cells during a surgery.
Genetic conditions like Gardner’s syndrome or basal cell nevus syndrome.
Symptoms of a sebaceous cyst
Small cysts are usually not painful. Large cysts can range from uncomfortable to considerably painful. Large cysts on the face and neck may cause pressure or pain. This type of cyst is usually filled with white flakes of keratin, which is also a major element that makes up your skin and nails. Most cysts are soft to the touch. Areas on the body where cysts are normally found include:
A sebaceous cyst is considered unusual and possibly cancerous if it has the following characteristics:
Diameter that’s larger than 5 centimeters.
Fast rate of reoccurrence after being removed.
Signs of infection like redness(or warm skin), pain or pus.
Diagnosis of a sebaceous cyst
Doctors regularly diagnose a sebaceous cyst after a simple physical examination. If your cyst is unusual, your doctor may demand for additional tests to rule out possible cancers. You may also need these tests if you desire to have the cyst surgically removed. Common tests used for a sebaceous cyst are:
CT scans, which help your doctor find the best way for surgery and to spot abnormalities.
Ultrasounds, which identify the contents of the cyst.
Punch biopsy, which involves taking a small amount of tissue from the cyst to be examined in a laboratory for signs of cancer.
Treatment of a sebaceous cyst
Your doctor can treat a cyst by draining it or by surgically removing it. Normally, cysts are removed. This isn’t because they’re dangerous but for cosmetic reasons.
Since most cysts aren’t harmful to your health, your doctor will let you to choose the treatment option that works for you.
It’s important to remember that without surgical removal, your cyst will typically come back. The best treatment is to ensure total removal through surgery. Some people do decide against surgery because it can cause scarring.
Your doctor may use one of the following methods to remove your cyst:
Conventional wide excision, which totally removes a cyst but can leave a long scar.
Minimal excision, which causes minimal scarring but has a risk that the cyst will return.
Laser with punch biopsy excision, which uses a laser to make a little hole to drain the cyst of its contents.
After the cyst is removed, your doctor may give you an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. You should use this ointment until the healing process is complete. You may also be given a scar cream to minimize the appearance of any surgical scars.
Outlook for a sebaceous cyst
Sebaceous cysts are usually not cancerous. Cysts left untreated can become very big and may eventually require surgical removal if they become uncomfortable.
If you have a complete surgical removal, the cyst will most likely not return in the future.
In certain cases, the removal site may become infected. Contact your doctor if your skin shows any signs of infection like redness and pain or if you develop a fever. Most infections will go away with antibiotics, but some can be deadly if untreated.
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