While most cysts are benign and pose no risk to you medically, Westover Hills Dermatology in San Antonio, TX understands that they can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and even painful. As such, you may decide to get a cyst that develops under your skin removed, but there are some cyst removal facts that you should know before making an appointment.
Cyst Removal FAQs: When Should a Cyst Be Removed?
Most of the time, cysts do not need to be removed because they usually aren’t harmful to your health. However, sometimes, cysts can grow and cause discomfort and pain. Depending on where the cyst is located, it can also cause embarrassment as well. So, for the majority of cysts, you should consider speaking to a doctor about removal if it’s interfering with your quality of life in some way. We will discuss your treatment options with you, including removal.
However, there are rare instances where cysts can be malignant or can be filled with infection. If either of these situations applies to your cyst, you’ll probably have to have it removed to prevent cancer or infection from spreading. The only way to know if your cyst contains infected or malignant tissue is to have it examined and possibly biopsied. So, whether your cyst is bothering you or not, you should still get it checked out.
Are All Cysts The Same?
No. There are several types of cysts that form on or under the skin. Let’s take a closer look at each type.
Sebaceous cysts are the most common type of cyst that affects the skin. They form when a hair follicle is damaged or a duct becomes blocked, and fluid becomes trapped in a sac beneath the skin.
These cysts are often mistaken for pimples, but sebaceous cysts form deeper under the skin than pimples do. A cyst will have a firm bump that can be moved around under the skin, whereas a pimple does not move under the skin.
This is another common type of cyst that is the result of an accumulation of keratin beneath the skin. These cysts often appear on the face, neck, head, and back, and are prone to infection.
If you have an infected epidermoid cyst, it will be red, swollen, and painful. For the most part, epidermoid cysts are non-cancerous, and they grow very slowly. While similar to sebaceous cysts in appearance, epidermoid cysts are actually filled with dead skin cells.
These cysts differ from sebaceous and epidermoid cysts in that they mainly appear near joints and on tendons. They are filled with a jelly-like material and vary in size from tiny (pea-sized) to large (an inch in diameter or bigger).
These cysts become painful if they press on a nerve as they grow. They can often make joint movement difficult, as they are particularly prevalent on wrists, ankles, hands, and feet. This is the main reason they’re removed.
These cysts grow on the surface of the skin covering the scalp and can lead to hair loss in the area where the cyst is located. Pilar cysts feel like a solid knot under your hair and are prone to bursting.
As these cysts grow slowly, you may not notice you have one until it becomes fairly large and your hair stops growing around it. They are firm to the touch but will move slightly when probed.
Digital Mucous Cysts
Digital mucous cysts form at the base of fingernails and toenails and contain a thick, sticky fluid, which is the substance that lubricates joints. They usually look like a clear bubble and resemble blisters.
What Happens If a Cyst Isn’t Removed?
Sometimes, nothing will happen if you don’t get a cyst removal. They aren’t harmful to your health, so if they don’t bother you, they can remain just as they are. However, on occasion, a cyst will burst, which can create a more painful and challenging medical situation, especially if your cyst is infected. Fortunately, the removal of a cyst isn’t a difficult procedure, so we can take care of the issue before it has a chance to cause major complications.
Additionally, most cysts continue to grow, which can lead to them becoming inflamed, infected, and painful. As they get larger, they can rub against clothing or other objects, which will irritate the cysts and cause you pain. Rather than wait for them to grow and potentially become painful, it’s a better option to get them removed while they’re still small. This can be done at an office visit in about 30 minutes or less, under a local anesthetic.
How Is a Cyst Removed?
Removing a cyst is a very straightforward procedure. We will mark the cyst that is to be removed and administer an anesthetic to the area to make the procedure more comfortable for you. A small incision will be made so that we can remove the fluid-filled sac from beneath the skin. We will then close the incision with stitches, provide you with post-care instructions, and send you on your way.
Whether your cyst is causing you problems or not, it’s a good idea to have it examined by our doctors. We’ll take a look at your cyst and develop a treatment plan that is best for your needs. Contact us at Westover Hills Dermatology in San Antonio, TX to schedule your appointment today.