What is a cyst?

A cyst is a closed, sac like structure that contains fluid, gas, or semisolid material, and is not a normal part of the tissue where it is located. Cysts are common and can occur anywhere in the body and in people of any age. Cysts vary in size; they may be detectable only under a microscope or they can grow so large that they displace normal organs and tissues.

What are the causes of a cyst?

Cysts can arise through a variety of processes in the body, including

  • “wear and tear” or simple obstruction to the flow of fluid
  • infections
  • tumors
  • chronic inflammatory conditions
  • genetic (inherited) conditions
  • defects in developing organs in the embryo

Most cysts arise due to the types of conditions listed above and are only preventable to the extent that the underlying cause is preventable.

What are the signs and symptoms of cysts? How are cysts diagnosed?

Sometimes you can feel a cyst yourself when you feel an abnormal “lump.” For example, cysts of the skin or tissues beneath the skin are usually noticeable. Cysts in the mammary glands (breasts) may also be palpable (meaning that you can feel them when you examine the area with your fingers). Cysts of internal organs, such as the kidneys or liver may not produce any symptoms or may not be detected by the affected individual. These cysts often are first discovered by imaging studies (X-ray, ultrasound, computerized tomography or CAT scan, and magnetic resonance imaging or MRI). Cysts may or may not produce symptoms, depending upon their size and location.

Cysts can feel like hard lumps under your skin and can occur in any area of your body. Depending on the location of the cyst, they can be harmless or very painful.

Cysts (also known as sebaceous cysts) are small closed sacs that contain fluid or solid material. A cyst is an infection and requires that the dermatologist drain the contents, and sometimes surgically remove the cyst. Sebaceous cysts most often arise from swollen hair follicles. Skin trauma can also induce a cyst to form. A sac of cells is created into which a protein called keratin is secreted.

Cysts are usually found on the face, neck, and trunk. They are usually slow- growing, painless, freely movable lumps beneath the skin. Occasionally, however, a cyst will become inflamed and tender.

There are multiple methods a dermatologist can use to remove cysts. For evaluation and diagnosis, please call Aesthetics Cosmetic Centre, for an appointment.