Cysts Santa Monica

What are cysts?

Cutaneous Cysts are cystic lesions that are filled with cream-colored material with a pasty consistency. They tend to have a thin wall and thus rupture is very common. Once it ruptures, it produces a painful inflammatory response. Cysts can occur anywhere on the body including the scalp, at which point they are known as pilar cysts. Cysts can be removed by a surgical excision before they become infected. Once they become infected, drainage, Kenalog injection or oral antibiotics may be necessary to reduce the inflammation and the size of the lesion.

I have a cyst on my back. Do I need to get it removed?

Typically, cysts are not removed unless they become inflamed. When cysts do become inflamed and infected, they become very large, big and painful. These typically occur on the buttocks area or on the back. When this occurs, please see a dermatologist right away. At the dermatologist office, cysts can be drained, relieving a lot of the pressure and reducing the pain. Simultaneously when the cyst is drained, it is also injected with some intralesional Kenalog (a steroid) in order to reduce some of the pain. If the cyst is infected, antibiotics are also prescribed. Typically, the patient is seen back in a week. In most cases, the cyst has completely calm down and is not painful at the follow-up visit. Unfortunately, the cyst cannot be removed at the time of inflammation or infection. Thus it is necessary for the patient to return to clinic in about 3 to 4 months to completely remove the cyst. When surgically removing the cyst, it is very important to completely remove the cyst well otherwise the cyst may return.

How is a cyst removed?

Typically, the cyst is numbed with lidocaine and then an excision is performed to remove the whole cyst, including the cyst wall. The area is then sutured up.

Is not draining a cyst enough to get rid of it?

No. Draining the cyst is not sufficient to completely get rid of the cyst. The reason is because the cyst sac or wall still remains within the skin. In order to completely remove a cyst, the cyst sac and wall must be completely removed. This is typically done by a dermatology surgeon who knows who to cut, open, and remove the cyst sac. Dr. Behnam is a dermatology surgeon and is a Fellow of American Society of Dermatology Surgery. Dr. Behnam performs cyst excision and removal all the time in his clinic.

If I have a cyst on my face that is inflamed, what can I do about it?

If there is an infected cyst on the face, Dr. Behnam will first gently drain it and then inject the area with some steroid. Draining the inflamed cyst will relieve the pressure and some of the pain. Injecting the cyst with steroid will reduce the inflammation. Dr. Behnam will also place the patient on oral antibiotics. The combination of drainage, injection with steroid and oral antibiotics will help get rid of the infection and inflammation. This is a very common procedure performed by Dr. Behnam in his office.

I have cyst on my scalp, what should I do about it?

Cyst on the scalp, also known as pilar cyst, are typically removed by a surgical excision. Please come to clinic for evaluation.

How is a cyst different from a lipoma?

A cyst is a sac that is filled with cream colored and pasty material called keratin. The cyst has a thin wall and a rupture is very common. Once it is ruptured, it becomes painful and inflamed. A lipoma is a proliferation of fat cells. It does not have a wall and it does not have the pasty keratinous material in it. It typically does not become infected. However lipomas could become very big. In some cases lipomas could become larger and bigger than cysts. The removal of lipomas is very similar to cyst. They are typically numbed and excised. The area is sutured carefully so that it heals with a great scar. Lipomas can sometimes become painful, and in those cases surgical removal might be necessary.