What is a cyst ?
A cyst is a fluid filled sac that forms just beneath the skin. It is usually round and may vary in size from something as small as a pea to a few centimetres in size. Cysts are often yellow, whitish or skin coloured. They are not usually painful but may become tender, sore and red if infection sets in. If this occurs, you will require a course of antibiotics to allow the infection to settle before cyst removal is undertaken. Although cysts can disappear, they usually increase in size and can become unsightly. In these cases, cyst removal is recommended.
There are many types of cysts. The common ones are epidermoid cysts and pilar cysts. Epidermoid cysts form when keratin, a protein produced by skin, gets trapped beneath the surface of the skin. They are usually found in the head, neck, chest and shoulder area. Pilar cysts form around hair follicles. They are often found in the scalp and can run in families.
What should I expect during cyst removal ?
During cyst removal, local anaesthetic is used to numb the area. Once the area is numbed, the cyst is removed. The whole cyst including its sac is removed to reduce the chance of it recurring. The area is stitched closed and the stitches are usually removed after 7 days.
What are the risks and complications associated with cyst removal ?
Scarring : Surgical cyst removal will always result in a scar however by careful planning and design, the scar can often be hidden in natural skin creases. It is important to be aware that scars may be red and raised for 6-12 months before settling down to usually become a thin white line
Recurrence : Cysts can occasionally come back particularly if a part of the cyst is left behind
Infection : All surgical procedures may result in infection. If you develop an infection, you will require antibiotics