Sebaceous Cysts: Part 1
There are several forms of sebaceous cysts depending on their areas of the body. These include pilar, trichilemmal and epidermal cysts to name a few. These cysts are often found on the scalp, or under the skin throughout the body.
The best way to understand what these cysts actually look like is to think of them as a grape.
If you cut a grape in half, you’ll notice a very thin wall that holds all of the contents within them. The wall, in this case, is the capsule of the cyst. And the contents of the grape (the pulp) is analogous to the cyst contents (or the sebum/keratinized material). The material within the cyst mirrors cottage cheese, and is malodorous.
The goal with any successful cyst removal procedure is to ensure that you remove the entire cyst (capsule and contents). This helps minimize the risk of recurrence (or the cyst coming back).
The procedure is performed by numbing the skin and soft tissues with a local anesthetic, making a small incision, removing the cyst, ensuring hemostasis and closing.
Sebaceous Cysts: Part 2
Sebaceous cysts are often times confused with other skin conditions, like pimples.
The key here is to NOT squeeze the area- you don’t want to disrupt the outer cyst wall (capsule) of the cyst.
Ensuring that the cyst wall is intact will help reduce the risk of recurrence (or the cyst from coming back) at the time of removal. Also, with leakage of its contents to the adjacent soft tissues, your body will flood the area with inflammatory markers which will cause redness, pain, and possible drainage from the skin.
To examine whether you have a cyst, feel the borders and assess its mobility. It should feel like a small marble under the skin.
You can also have active and/or chronic infections of the cyst.
Active infections may require an incision to drain the underlying contents, and/or antibiotics, prior to its excision.