Cysts are sacs filled with fluids and keratinaceous material that come in different sizes, from tiny bumps to large lumps. The most common cysts are epidermoid, sebaceous, and pilar cysts.
Epidermoid cysts are the most common type of cysts. They form sacs under the skin that contain dirt and oil from the skin's surface. Sebaceous cysts appear in oily areas of the body because they arise from sebaceous oil glands. Pilar cysts appear near hair follicles, especially on the scalp.
Usually, cysts increase in size slowly and do not cause discomfort. They are common in the face, head, neck, and back areas. Most cysts are not a source of concern unless they become inflamed or infected. Patients should not attempt to squeeze or remove a cyst as it could cause a rupture and further inflame or infect the cyst. You need to seek treatment from a dermatologist.
There are surgical and non-surgical options available to treat cysts.
Non-surgical cyst treatment involves an injection of steroids into the cyst to reduce inflammation and minimize swelling.
Surgical cyst removal is a quick procedure that requires a local anesthetic. If the cyst is inflamed or infected, doctors will drain it first and excise it later. The goal is the remove the entire sac to prevent a recurrence. Unfortunately, cyst removal tends to leave a scar after the procedure.
There are three main surgical techniques that a doctor can use to remove a cyst.
Wide excision is the most conventional way. It eliminates the cyst entirely but usually leaves a long scar, especially with larger cysts that may need stitches.
A minimal excision involves draining the cyst first. After the cyst is drained, it shrinks in size making the excision procedure and the scar smaller.
The laser punch procedure uses laser technology to create a small incision in the cyst to drain it. A month later when the cyst is smaller, it is removed entirely with minimal excision. This technique stops the risk of recurrence and leaves a smaller scar.
Recovery from cyst removal is minimal, and patients can resume their day-to-day activities in 2-3 weeks. Doctors will also prescribe an antibiotic cream to help heal and a scar cream after it heals.