What is a sebaceous cyst?
A sebaceous cyst is a small lump or bump on the skin which is non-cancerous. It is most frequently found on the face, neck, upper chest and upper back. However, they can occur anywhere else on the skin.
Usually, a sebaceous cyst grows gradually and does not cause any pain. However, they may become infected or inflamed and the overlying skin turns red, sore and tender. A bad-smelling, cheese-like material can sometimes also drain from your cyst. In these cases, treatment can reduce the discomfort you experience and improve the appearance of your skin.
What causes a sebaceous cyst?
Sebaceous cysts arise from your sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland secretes sebum, a type of oil that coats your hair and skin. Cysts can develop if the gland or its duct, the location where oil leaves, becomes blocked. This is caused by trauma to the affected skin such as a scratch, a wound from previous surgery or a skin condition such as acne. Cysts are often caused by swollen follicles in the skin as well. Cysts can also be from genetic conditions such as Gardner’s syndrome or basal cell nevus syndrome.
How do I know if I have a sebaceous cyst?
Cysts are commonly found on the face, neck, upper chest and upper back. What you are looking for is a small lump under your skin. The cyst will not be painful in most cases. However, the skin surrounding the skin may be red, warm and tender to the touch. Drainage from the skin will have a foul smell and appear gray-white and cheese-like.
How is a sebaceous cyst diagnosed?
A sebaceous cyst is usually diagnosed by a doctor in a physical examination of your skin. Sometimes,your doctor will perform biopsy to rule out other skin growths. This means a tissue sample of your skin is taken and sent to the laboratory for detailed examination.
Why surgery to remove a sebaceous cyst?
A sebaceous cyst does not usually disappear by itself, and it is best to remove the cyst before it grows larger or gets infected. Surgery is a practical and safe method of removing cysts.
In certain cases, sebaceous cysts may become cancerous. Surgery to remove the cyst, as well as a biopsy is recommended. This is called excision biopsy. There are also other complications that may arise from the cyst such as infection, pain and discomfort. Should a cyst be infected or inflamed, this can result in a lot of discomfort. The inflammation is usually treated before the cyst can be removed.Sebaceous cysts are most often removed from the face for cosmetic reasons.
What to expect during surgery to remove a cyst?
Here are some things you can expect from a cyst removal surgery.
Before the procedure
- Shave hair and clean affected area.
- Fast as instructed by your doctor.
During the procedure
- You will be placed under local anaesthesia to numb your skin.
- Your surgeon will make a tiny cut in the skin and squeeze the cyst out.
- The resulting scar is usually small and aesthetically pleasing.
- Six to seven stitches will be in place.
- A bandaged is used to cover the wound.
- The operation is usually completed within 30 minutes.
After the procedure
- You may be able to go home on the day of the procedure.
- Pain is minimal and can be controlled with painkillers if you wish.
- Change your dressing daily.
- You may shower with your dressing on or without your dressing.
- Eat a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables and other light foods.
- Avoid spicy food.
- Cut out alcohol.
- Schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor within 1 to 2 weeks time.
Schedule a consult with our doctor Dr Ganesh Ramalingam
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