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What are cysts?

Cysts are growths that develop under the skin like a small sack or balloon containing fluid or semisolid dead skin cells. Cysts often have an opening that connects to the surface of the skin where fluid or material can be drained. This drainage is usually quite foul smelling. Once cysts are formed, they rarely resolve on their own.

Why should cysts be removed?

Cysts are often not troublesome and, as long as they do not cause any cosmetic or functional problems, they do not require treatment. However, in cases when they are painful, growing, inflamed, ruptured, or become infected, removal is recommended.

What are methods used for the treatment or removal of cysts?

Injections – Inflamed cysts may be injected with anti-inflammatory cortisone to minimize the inflammation.

Aspiration – In this case, a needle is used to drain the contents of the cyst. After aspiration, a steroid drug may be injected into the cyst to calm inflammation.

Incision and drainage – To facilitate drainage, a small incision is made on the top of the cyst and its contents are expressed. This process is relatively easy, but cysts often recur when treated this way.

Excision – This technique is used to remove the entire cyst wall to prevent its recurrence. This method is the most effective one that can be used, but only when the lesion is not inflamed. If there is inflammation, the cyst is first treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory steroids, or incision, and drainage.