A cyst is a pocket-like area, within tissue, that is not normally there. It can be filled with fluid, blood, tissue, hair, bone, a foreign body, etc. If it is filled with pus, it becomes an abscess. Cysts can occur anywhere on or in your body.
Skin cysts are round lumps, often filled with fluid or pus. They're usually harmless and often do not need treatment.
The epidermal cells form the walls of the cyst and then secrete the protein keratin into the interior. The keratin is the thick, yellow substance that sometimes drains from the cyst. This abnormal growth of cells may be due to a damaged hair follicle or oil gland in your skin.
Home treatment for a lump such as an epidermal (skin) cyst may relieve symptoms but may not make the cyst go away. Here are some tips for treating a lump that may be caused by infection under the skin. Do not squeeze, scratch, drain, open (lance), or puncture the lump.
Cysts are caused by blockages that lead to a buildup of fluid or air. The blockages can be due to infection, genetic conditions, inflammatory conditions, parasites or tumours. Some people get cysts around body hairs or piercings for earrings.
It's not advisable to try draining a cyst or abscess yourself. Cyst popping at home can cause infection. Instead, keep the area clean, and make an appointment with a doctor if the area is painful or starts to drain.
Apply a Warm Compress
After cleaning the cyst, hold a warm compress on the area for five to ten minutes. The moisture and the warmth help to encourage the substance trapped under the skin to make its way out of the hair follicle. Repeat this process up to three times per day until the cyst drains on its own.
Do not squeeze the cyst or poke it with a needle to open it. This can cause swelling, redness, and infection. Always have a doctor look at any new lumps you get to make sure that they are not serious. If you had stitches, you may get other instructions.
Epidermoid cysts often go away without any treatment. If the cyst drains on its own, it may return. Most cysts don't cause problems or need treatment. But if a cyst is a concern to you for any reason, see your healthcare provider.
When the skin on the cyst is broken, the fluid will drain as a clear, jelly-like substance. Digital mucous cysts usually: Appear alone. Are clear or flesh-colored.
If left untreated, benign cysts can cause serious complications including: Infection – the cyst fills with bacteria and pus, and becomes an abscess. If the abscess bursts inside the body, there is a risk of blood poisoning (septicaemia).
It may burst because there is simply no more room for the pocket to grow. Or, it may be bumped or broken and consequently ruptures. Once a sebaceous cyst ruptures under the skin, it will become hot, drain smelly material, and then it needs to be lanced.
If the cyst bleeds, it is called a hemorrhagic (say "heh-muh-RA-jick") ovarian cyst. If a hemorrhagic cyst breaks open, it can release blood and fluid into the lower belly and pelvis. You may not have symptoms from the cyst. But if it is large, or if it twists or breaks open, you may have pain or other problems.
To treat an inflamed or infected cyst your doctor may drain the infection and place you on antibiotics. But draining the contents of the cyst does not remove the cyst cavity itself. So the cyst “comes back” when it fills back up with oil and dead skin cells.
Cysts can remain small for years or they can keep growing larger. Sometimes, as noted above, a sebaceous cyst can disappear on its own, but surgery is usually necessary to remove them.
Some cysts go away on their own while others continue to grow until you get treatment. Without treatment, you may have the sebaceous cyst for the rest of your life.
The area around the cyst may smell bad. If the cyst breaks open, the material inside it often smells bad too. The cyst is usually firm and you can usually move it slightly if you try. The cyst can be smaller than a pea or as large as a few inches.
Most abscesses develop from bacterial infections. Your immune system can detect bacteria in the body and will send white blood cells to fight the infection. This causes inflammation which kills the nearby tissue and forms a pocket that fills with pus. Cysts can also cause abscesses to form.
Cysts and boils can look similar, but they are not the same. A boil results from a bacterial infection. It is red and swollen and contains pus, like a pimple. A cyst is under the skin and is usually painless, but it can resemble a boil if it ruptures or becomes infected.
Cyst removal is a common procedure that many GPs in Brisbane are performing for their patients. Sebaceous cysts are common non-cancerous cysts of the skin. These are skin abnormalities that contain liquid or semi-liquid material. These can usually be found on the face, neck, or torso and are not life-threatening.
Needle aspiration. Instead of doing an incision, the doctor will use a small needle to enter the cyst and remove the fluid.
Successful cyst removal involves removal of the whole sac. This can be done safely under local anaesthetic. A small incision is made over the cyst and the balloon is “peeled” out from under the skin. The skin can then be stitched together to leave a small scar.