Infected Cyst on Mid-back

This is the incision and drainage of an infected cyst with packing. The packing could certainly be optional, in most cases, as studies show it isn’t necessary. I use it, in cases like these, where I’m worried about loculations and the anaesthesia isn’t great (because the field is infected) so breaking them down becomes problematic for the patient. On that note, I think it is worth noting that around the 4-5min point the patient describes ‘feeling’ me working and I should have addressed that more properly. I can explain, for a variety of reasons, why I know she was having more pressure than anything else, but it really doesn’t matter. She was apprehensive and I should have focused on that better. There is always something to learn, even for me.

A sebaceous cyst is a benign, closed, firm sac that lies in the skin and often forms a dome-shaped lump attached to the epidermis that can be moved over underlying tissues. It occurs primarily on the face, neck, shoulder, or chest (hair-bearing areas of the body). It is extremely common in the population and may occur at any age. They are not contagious and do not run the risk of developing cancer (in other words, they’re benign). However, they can get infected and be a bit unsightly. To start the healing process, start with Step 1 below.

Use a warm compress over the cyst. A towel that’s warmed to 37-40 °C (100-105°F) may be applied 3-4 times a day for no more than 10-30 minutes. This dilates the blood vessels and the warm sensation diminishes the pain by acting as a counter-irritant that masks the pain brought about by the inflammation.

  • Sebaceous cysts may be covered if not causing the patient distress; most are non-dangerous and are only bothersome aesthetically. However, if it’s infected, seeking medical treatment is wise.
Credit: Dr. Geoff Butler

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