Epidermoid Cyst removed

Cysts are closed sacs filled with fluid. They can occur anywhere on the body and can be caused by infections, genetics, a defect in the cells, or blocked ducts. Discovering a cyst can be scary, but there are things you can do to treat it so you’re less uncomfortable.

Distinguish between a sebaceous cyst and epidermoid cyst. An epidermoid cyst is more common than a sebaceous cyst. Each will have slightly different symptoms and will be treated just a little differently. Therefore, it is important that the cyst you have on your skin is diagnosed appropriately for effective treatment.

  • Both types of cysts are flesh-colored or white-yellow and have a smooth surface.
  • Epidermoid cysts are more common. These are slow growing and often painless. They don’t usually require treatment, unless they are causing pain or become infected.
  • Pilar cysts are composed primarily of keratin (the protein that makes up hair and nails) and form from the outer hair root sheath, typically on the head. A pilar cyst is often thought to be another term for a sebaceous cysts, but they are in fact different.
  • Sebaceous cysts are commonly found in the hair follicles on the head. They form inside the glands that secrete sebum, an oily substance that coats the hair. When these normal secretions are trapped, they develop into a pouch containing a cheese-like substance. They are commonly found in areas near the neck, upper back, and on the scalp. Sebaceous cysts are often confused with pilar or epidermoid cysts.

Distinguish between cysts in the breast and tumors. Cysts can be in one or both breasts. Without a mammogram or needle biopsy it is almost impossible to distinguish between the two different types of lumps in the breast. Symptoms of a breast cyst will include:

  • Smooth, easily movable lump with distinct edges
  • Pain or tenderness over the lump
  • Size and tenderness will increase just before your period starts
  • Size and tenderness will decrease when your period ends

Understand cystic acne. Acne is a general term that describes a variety of different types of pimples, blackheads, pustules, whiteheads and cysts. Cystic acne are nodules that are red, raised, often 2–4 mm in size and nodular and are the most severe form of acne. The infection in a cystic acne is deeper than that in other pustules or whiteheads. Cystic acne is painful

Identify a ganglion cyst. These are the most common types of lumps found on the hand and wrist. They are not cancerous and often harmless. Filled with fluid, they can quickly appear, disappear or change in size. They do not require treatment unless they interfere with function or are unacceptable in appearance

Determine if pain is from a pilonidal cyst. In this condition there is a cyst, abscess or dimple that forms in the crease between the buttocks that runs from the lower end of the spine to the anus. It can be caused from wearing tight clothing, excess body hair, sitting for long periods of time or obesity. Symptoms can include pus from the area, tenderness over the cyst, or the skin may be warm, tender or swollen near the tailbone. Or there may not be any symptoms beside a pit or dimple at the base of the spine.

Distinguish a Bartholin gland cyst. These glands are located on either side of the vaginal opening to lubricate the vagina. When the gland becomes obstructed, a relatively painless swelling forms called a Bartholin’s cyst. If the cyst is not infected you may not notice it. An infection can occur in a matter of days causing tenderness, fever, discomfort walking, pain with intercourse, and a tender, painful lump near the vaginal opening


See a doctor for swelling in the testicles.
 All testicular swelling must be diagnosed by a physician to determine the differences between a cyst, cancerous growth, hydrocele or infection in the testicles. A testicular cysts, also called a spermatocele or epididymal cyst, is typically a painless, fluid-filled, noncancerous sac in the scrotum above the testicles

Consider getting a second opinion if you are not satisfied with your physician’s diagnosis and treatment. Although most epidermoid and pilar cysts do not require treatment from a physician, if you do seek medical advice and are not satisfied with the results seek a second opinion. Most sebaceous and epidermoid cysts are straightforward, but there are other conditions that may mimic these cysts.

  • In a case study written in the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the authors presented two cases in which melanoma and a deep oral cavity were originally mistaken for a sebaceous cyst.
  • There are a variety of other infectious processes that may be mistaken for a sebaceous cyst, including boils, furuncles and carbuncles.


Understand which cysts are not preventable.
 Pilar cysts develop after puberty and have an autosomal dominant inheritance. This means that they occur in both sexes and if one parent carries the gene for a pilar cyst then it increases the risk that the children will experience these cysts. Seventy percent of people who get them will have multiple cysts over their lifetime.

  • There is no known cause at this time for cysts that develop in the breast tissue.
  • Doctors do not have a clear answer about the risk factors and prevention for Cystic acne but it is believed to be related to increasing hormonal levels in puberty and pregnancy and deep infections from hair follicles plugged by sebum (oil on the skin).

Understand which cysts are preventable. Most cysts are not but some are. For instance, prevention for a pilonidal cyst includes wearing clothing that is not tight, maintaining normal weight limits, and getting up from a seated position every 30 minutes throughout the day.

  • According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there is no effective means of preventing an epidermoid cyst from forming. However, there are groups of people who appear to be at greater risk for developing them: more men than women, acne sufferers, and people who spend a long time in the sun.
  • People who have suffered hand injury are more likely to experience an epidermoid or ganglion cyst on the hand.
  • Bartholin gland cysts can occur after injury to the area at the opening to the vagina

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