A cyst is a type of sac that forms in your skin or can be located anywhere in your body. A cyst can be filled with assorted materials, air, or fluid. There are several types of cysts, and they come from different causes.
It can show up because of blockage in the ducts, swollen hair follicles, or an infection. Most cysts are harmless and don’t require special treatment. But they should be diagnosed by a doctor.
Sometimes it can be challenging to identify whether you have a cyst, boil, or a skin abscess. Or something totally different altogether. That's why it's essential to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
It may be possible that your cyst may not even need to be removed. There may be other types of treatment options depending on what type, and where it’s located. When your cyst does need to be removed, several methods could be used.
If drainage is used, local anesthesia will be used. Your doctor will make an incision through the cyst so it can be drained. Then gauze may be packed into the wound, which will be removed in one or two days. You may need to take some antibiotics to prevent infection, and the wound should heal within days to weeks (it depends on the size and level inflammation at presentation).
It’s not recommended to drain pilar or epidermoid cysts on the skin. Draining will leave these types of cysts in your skin which will cause a reoccurrence. Plus, drainage can also cause scarring both on the surface of your skin and under your skin. Then removal in the future will be difficult if needed.
Fine-needle aspiration is a procedure when your doctor inserts a thin needle into your cyst and will drain the fluid. Breast cysts are a good candidate for this type of method. Plus, this fluid drainage is used to determine if the breast lump has cancer cells.
Surgery is another option for some cysts like Baker’s, dermoid cysts, and ganglion cysts. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area or you may require sedation. Your doctor will pull out the cyst after first making a small cut.
There will be a scar from the surgical removal. The scar size depends on several different factors, including how large the cyst was. Also, Baker’s cyst and ganglion cysts will sometimes come back.
Laparoscopy surgery can be used for certain cysts, such as those that are found in the ovaries. Your surgeon will use a scalpel and make a few incisions. Then a thin laparoscopy camera is inserted into one of your incisions. The camera helps to view your cyst to remove it.
Don't try to remove your cyst at home because if it isn't a cyst, you can make it worse. If you use a sharp object to squeeze, pop, or try to burst your cyst, it can lead to scarring or infection. Or, if the cyst is already infected, you could spread the infection further. If you don’t remove the whole cyst, it can grow back or become infected.