Cyst (Cream of Wheat) Removal

A “cyst” is a closed or “sac-like” structure that is full of semi-solid material, gases or liquid. Sebaceous cysts occur due to the buildup of sebum, an oily substance that keeps your skin and hair moisturized. Most sebaceous cysts are found on the face, the neck, the back, and rarely, in the genital area. Though they grow slowly and are usually painless, they can be uncomfortable and show up in embarrassing spots. You can get the cyst medically removed by a doctor or use home treatments to encourage the cyst to heal and disappear

Note if the cyst has become inflamed and irritated. Most sebaceous cysts are harmless and do not require treatment. But if the cyst becomes irritated or inflamed, you may consider going to your doctor so they can remove it for you safely.

  • Check if there is a tiny blackhead in the center of the cyst. The cyst may also be red, inflamed, and tender.
  • You should also note a thick yellow fluid that comes out of the cyst when you press on it. The fluid may have a foul smell.

Let your doctor examine the cyst. If you think the sebaceous cyst is infected, you should allow your doctor to examine it and avoid touching it or draining it on your own at home.

  • Trying to drain the cyst at home can increase your risk of having the cyst appear again, as you will not be able to remove the sac completely. Draining the sac on your own can also increase your risk of infection and scarring in the area around the cyst.

Allow your doctor to drain the cyst. This is a fairly easy procedure and can be done in your doctor’s office. They will first apply a local anesthetic on the cyst so you do not feel the procedure.

  • Then, she will make a small incision in the cyst and drain the contents by “expressing” the fluid. “Expressing” means she will apply a small amount of pressure on the cyst to push the fluid out. The fluid in the cyst may appear yellow, cheesy looking, and have an unpleasant smell.
  • Your doctor may also remove the cyst wall to prevent the cyst from appearing again. This is considered minor surgery and your doctor may need to give the area sutures once the cyst wall has been removed, depending on how big the cyst is.
  • Removing the cyst is generally done after the acute infection has subsided, to prevent recurrence of an infected cyst.
Credit: ContourDermatology

This video may contain dermatologic surgical and/or procedural content. The content seen in this video is provided only for medical education purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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