What are cysts?
A cyst is a round lump just beneath the skin that typically contains fluid or air. Cysts can occur almost anywhere on the body, with them often being confused with boils or abscesses.
Varying in size from a pea to several centimetres long, cysts are generally yellow or white in colour and can also sometimes have a dark spot from which you may be able to squeeze pus from. Cysts do not usually cause discomfort, however can become sore or inflamed if infected.
Cysts grow slowly. Whilst some are very small, others can be a few centimetres wide in diameter. They do not usually hurt, though they can be painful if they rupture or become infected. An infected cyst will typically turn red and feel warm and tender.
Most cysts are harmless. However, some can contain malignant cells, which means that they are cancerous. In these cases, an early diagnosis is essential. If you find any abnormal lump on your body, you must see your doctor immediately.
What causes cysts?
Cysts have many possible causes. They can be the product of genetic factors, the result of an injury or infection to the skin, or the consequence of a blockage in a duct. Additionally, different types of cysts have different causes, as we discuss below.
Cysts can form for a number of different reasons, including:
- Hereditary diseases
- Chronic inflammation
- Duct obstruction that leads to fluid build up
- A cell defect
- An injury that leads to a vessel breaking
A majority of cysts are benign, forming as a result of blocks in the body’s drainage patterns.
However, this may not always be the case and it’s therefore essential that you have your cyst checked by your doctor or practitioner as early as possible.
While anyone can develop a cyst, your chances of getting one are increased during puberty, if you have damaged the skin or if you have a history of acne.
It’s important to note that cysts are not contagious.
Types of Cysts
There are Four major types of Cysts. Different types tend to grow in different regions of the body and have distinct appearances.
Epidermoid cysts are usually found on the face, neck, chest, shoulders or groin area. They typically affect young and middle-aged adults, and they are more likely to develop in people who have a history of acne.
These cysts form due to cellular defects. The cells on the surface of our skin produce keratin. Keratin is a protein that makes our skin strong and flexible. However, these surface cells sometimes sink down into a deeper level of the skin and multiply. These cells form the wall of the cyst, and when they produce keratin, they fill the capsule with a yellow liquid.
Sebaceous cysts come from your sebaceous glands. These glands are responsible for lubricating the skin with an oily substance called sebum. When the gland or its duct is damaged, sebaceous cysts can form on the skin. The gland can be damaged by an injury to the skin, or by a skin condition such as acne. These cysts usually appear on the face, neck, back and chest, though they can be found anywhere on the body.
Trichilemmal (pilar) Cysts
Trichilemmal cysts (also known as pilar cysts) form around the hair follicles, and they usually appear on the scalp. The hair follicles have an epithelial lining that contains keratin. If too much keratin builds up in the epithelial lining, a pilar cyst forms. Unlike other cysts, pilar cysts are the same colour as your skin. They are not usually painful, though they can sometimes be uncomfortable to touch. Pilar cysts can be hereditary, and middle-aged women are most likely to develop them. Most people develop more than one pilar cyst at a time.
A milium cyst is a small, white bump or spot which looks a little like a whitehead. They usually appear in groups along the surface of the skin, and they are more likely to emerge when the skin has been injured, such as by a rash or a burn. Milia are not usually painful or itchy, though they can be unsightly, appearing on the skin when the body fails to expel dead skin cells. These dead cells contain keratin, and this keratin can become stuck in the skin’s pores, resulting in a cyst.
Cyst removal procedure
The best treatment for cysts is surgical excision. During this procedure, the treatment area is numbed using a local anaesthetic. A small incision is then made around the cyst, and it is removed from beneath the skin. The wound is then stitched closed. After 10 to 14 days have passed, the patient will return to the clinic for a check-up, and the stitches will be removed. This will leave a linear scar, which will fade with time.
Some types of cysts, such as milia, can be removed by prescribing a topical medication. This takes the form of a cream that is massaged into the skin. A specialist consultant will examine your cysts during your consultation to determine whether this cyst removal treatment is suitable for you.
To learn more about what the cyst removal experts in Hertfordshire can do for you, call our office or schedule your appointment online today.
Common cyst removal questions
What Are The Symptoms Of Cysts?
The majority of cysts do not have any symptoms other than their physical appearance: they are yellow or white lumps under the surface of the skin. They are painless and smooth to touch. However, if a cyst gets infected, it can become tender and uncomfortable. Sometimes, they excrete a foul-smelling liquid.
Who Is At Risk Of Getting Cysts?
Anyone of any age can develop a cyst. However, middle-aged women are most at risk of developing pilar cysts, especially if they have relatives who have also suffered from this type of cyst. Meanwhile, patients with a history of acne are most likely to develop epidermoid cysts.
How Does A Dermatologist Diagnose A Cyst?
A dermatologist will typically be able to diagnose a cyst simply by examining its appearance. However, in some cases, a biopsy of the cyst wall will need to be performed.
When Should A Cyst Be Removed?
Cysts are benign and harmless, so it is not usually necessary for them to be removed. However, if a cyst is growing in an uncomfortable place, causing you embarrassment or distress, or grows bigger over time, it is advisable that you have it professionally removed.
Does Cyst Removal Hurt?
Cyst removal by surgical excision is not painful, though it may be somewhat uncomfortable. A local anaesthetic is used to reduce discomfort as much as possible.
Can I Remove A Cyst At Home?
No, you must not try to remove a cyst at home, nor should you pick at or squeeze your cyst, as this can cause infection or permanent scarring and can harm the surrounding skin.
How Long Does The Procedure Take?
In total, the treatment takes 20 to 30 minutes to administer.
What Are The Side Effects Of Cyst Removal?
Some patients may experience tenderness or soreness at the treatment site following the surgery, but these symptoms will disappear after 1 to 2 days have passed.
Is There Any Downtime?
There is no downtime required. Patients can drive home immediately after this procedure and return to their normal activities.
Do Cysts Disappear On Their Own?
A cyst can disappear on its own. However, they often grow back. The best way to ensure that a cyst never returns is to have it surgically removed.
What Happens If A Cyst Isn’t Removed?
After a doctor has examined the cyst and determined that there is no risk of cancer, the lump does not pose a threat to one’s health, and so it does not necessarily need to be removed. However, the cyst will continue to grow bigger, and even if it disappears on its own, it can grow back. If your cyst is causing you discomfort or embarrassment, it is best to reflect on your options and consider having the lump surgically removed. Additionally, a cyst that is left on its own can burst, which can be quite painful. If the cyst becomes infected, it also has the potential to spread the infection, especially if it bursts.
How Much Does It Cost To Remove A Cyst?
Our cyst removal treatments begin at £295, though the price depends on your particular needs. The treatment cost will be discussed during your consultation.
How Can I Book A Cyst Removal Appointment With Aventus Clinic?
To book a cyst removal appointment with Aventus Clinic, please complete the form below. Alternatively, appointments can be booked over the phone or via email.
Do You Offer Private Cyst Removal?
Yes, we are a team of experienced dermatologists and offer cyst removal services in our private clinic.