back home

Cysts are very common harmless skin growths that usually just appear spontaneously without any known cause. Some people have skin types that make them prone to forming cysts. They typically present as small white or yellow smooth spherical bumps occurring just underneath the skin surface. They often connect to the skin surface through a dilated pore. If squeezed, foul-smelling solid material can be expressed through the pore opening. Most cysts remain stable in size for years, but some do slowly enlarge over time. If the solid contents of the cyst leak outside the cyst lining, the body reacts against the cyst material causing it to become red, swollen and tender. This reaction can be treated with injections of cortisone and antibiotic pill medications. Health insurance will not pay for removal of cysts that are stable in size and not causing any symptoms. Cysts that are becoming tender, rapidly growing or obviously irritated and inflamed do require removal and in these instances it is usually covered by insurance. Because cysts grow deep under the skin, removal requires deep surgical excision with stitches, cutting through the skin to dissect out the entire cyst, including removal of the cyst lining. Simply incising and draining out the cyst contents is not adequate treatment because without removal of the entire lining, the cyst will rapidly grow back again. Deep excision with stitches will always result in some type of surgical scar, but in many cases this ends up being just a thin line scar. Keep in mind that cysts are harmless growths with no potential to become cancer. If not causing problems, it is sometimes best to defer surgical removal and not bother the cyst if it's not bothering you.

Back to Patient Teaching article list

[ Website Design ©2009 by Technology on Demand, Inc. ]