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Cyst Removal: Is it Always Necessary?

Cysts are a fairly common skin condition that often get removed when diagnosed. But is it always necessary to have your cysts removed? Here’s what you need to know.


What Is a Cyst?

First, it’s important to understand what exactly a cyst is and how they form. They’re fairly common, especially on the skin. In short, a cyst is a closed sac with a defined membrane that contains fluid, air, or semi-solid materials. There are a variety of factors that can lead to the development of a cyst, including acne. Cystic acne is a form of cyst development on the skin, after all. Most cysts are benign in nature, but it’s fairly common to undergo a biopsy to test whether or not a cyst is cancerous. Some of the most common causes of cyst development are infection, skin trauma, and hormonal imbalances. It’s also possible to have a genetic predisposition for cyst development in some cases.

Are There Different Types of Cysts?

While cysts are fairly common, it’s important to note that there are different types of cysts that can form on the skin.

One of the most common types of cyst is the sebaceous cyst. Sebaceous cysts are formed when keratin fluid is trapped near a damaged hair follicle or a blocked duct underneath the skin. It can be easy to mistake a sebaceous cyst for a pimple, but pimples typically form much closer to the outermost layer of your skin. If you’re not sure whether or not you have a cyst, look for a dome-shaped bump that is firm and relatively mobile. You can find sebaceous cysts most commonly on the scalp, face, neck, and back.

Another common type of cyst is the epidermoid cyst. These cysts are also caused by a buildup of keratin underneath the skin and may become swollen, red, and painful if infected. These cysts are typically benign and slow-growing. They’re most commonly found on the face, head, neck, and back.

Ganglion cysts may sound strange, but the reality is that they’re quite common. These cysts are round, fluid-filled lumps of tissue that most often appear along tendons or on joints. They’re particularly common on the hands, wrists, ankles, and feet. It’s often difficult to determine the cause of a ganglion cyst, but they don’t pose a threat to your health unless they begin putting pressure on joints and other body structures.

When Should a Cyst Be Removed?

In the majority of cases, a cyst that’s benign really doesn’t need to be removed unless it’s causing pain, discomfort, or confidence issues. For example, if there’s a cyst on your scalp and your brush constantly irritates it and causes you pain, it’s worth talking to your doctor about getting it removed. It’s the same principle that applies to whether or not you seek out acne treatment. And for cystic acne, acne medication can often clear your skin without the need to physically operate on any of your cysts.

The biggest reasons a cyst would need to be removed are if they contain malignant tissue or an infection. In these cases, it’s often very necessary to remove a skin cyst as soon as possible to avoid further complications. In the vast majority of other cases, cyst removal isn’t really necessary unless you’re experiencing issues with it.

At North Pacific Dermatology, we want to help you live your happiest, most confident life. If you have questions about cysts or cyst removal, set up a consultation with our team today.

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