A skin cyst is not cancerous but it can become uncomfortable and infected, and then it must be treated to prevent complications. Whether you have medical or cosmetic reasons for getting rid of a cyst, Michael Renfrow, MD, FACS, and Steven Kanter, MD, FACS, at South Florida Surgical Group in Miami, Florida, have extensive experience removing skin cysts using a quick, pain-free procedure done in the office. To schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature today.
By definition, a cyst is a closed, saclike structure that’s filled with a fluid or semisolid substance. Cysts occur within tissues throughout your body including your skin.
You can develop several types of skin cysts:
A sebaceous cyst is a round swollen area that develops when a sebaceous gland becomes blocked and the sebum accumulates in a saclike structure. Sebum, an oily substance produced by the gland, normally moisturizes and protects your skin. This type of cyst typically appears on your face, upper back, and upper chest.
The outer layer of your skin, called the epidermis, normally sheds old, dead skin cells. An epidermoid cyst develops when the cells go deeper into your skin instead of sloughing off. Then the cells form into a cyst and secrete keratin that fills the center of the cyst. Though epidermoid cysts can appear anywhere on your body, they usually affect your face, neck, and trunk.
A pilonidal cyst is nearly always located near your tailbone, where it occurs in people who sit for a long time. This type of cyst develops when body hair becomes embedded in your skin, creating an abnormal pocket that contains skin and hair debris.
Sebaceous, epidermoid, and pilonidal cysts seldom cause symptoms other than a small lump. A yellow substance may drain out of an epidermoid cyst. Any of these cysts may become infected. When that happens, you have symptoms such as redness, swelling, and tenderness.
The team at South Florida Surgical Group removes skin cysts in a painless, five-minute procedure performed in the office. After administering a local anesthetic, your surgeon makes a small incision and either removes the entire cyst or drains the cyst and removes the cyst wall, depending on its type and size.
The tissues that are removed are always sent to dermato-pathologists, or a pathologist who specializes in soft skin tissue. Though skin cysts are not cancerous, some types of cancer can cause a cyst. A biopsy verifies that no cancer cells were present.
You receive detailed instructions about caring for the incision and changing dressings as needed, depending on if your cyst is left open or closed with stitches.
If you have a painful or infected skin cyst, call South Florida Surgical Group or schedule an appointment online.