Personalized Medical Treatments for and Sebaceous Cysts and Skin Lumps

Discovering a lump beneath your skin can be concerning, especially when you don’t know the cause. The appearance of skin conditions like these can be annoying and even uncomfortable. But you don’t have to suffer in silence.

When you’re experiencing worry or discomfort due to skin cysts and lumps, get answers and solutions that fit your personal needs from the caring medical team at Midtown Surgical & Skin Institute.

Meet your Doctor

William Hanner D.O.

Surgeon and Founder

General Surgery
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What Is a Sebaceous Cyst?

Sebaceous cysts are small, raised bumps that appear beneath the surface of your skin. They’re filled with a liquid or semi-liquid substance that, fortunately, is noncancerous. 

Sebaceous cysts most commonly appear on the torso, though sometimes they can show up on the neck and face too. Normally, they are slow-growing and often painless. But over time, sebaceous cysts can grow painful and bothersome and may require surgical removal. 

Are Sebaceous Cysts Cancerous?

If your skin lump is truly a sebaceous cyst, then it’s not likely to be cancerous. These cysts don’t immediately need to be removed or treated unless they are causing discomfort.

However, some other types of skin lumps can be cancerous. A diagnosis from a doctor is necessary to determine if your skin issue is a sebaceous cyst or something else.

What Causes Sebaceous Skin Lumps to Form?

Sebaceous cysts occur due to an issue with your sebaceous glands, which are responsible for producing the oil that keeps your skin and hair moist and healthy (instead of dry and flaky). When the gland or its ducts aren’t functioning properly, the oil can get stuck, creating an annoying lump.

The most common causes of sebaceous cysts include:

  • Injury — Damaged oil gland or duct due to injury to skin, such as a scratch or acne
  • Deformity — Deformed or misshapen gland or duct that doesn’t drain properly
  • Scarring — Damage to skin cells in and around the cyst due to surgery
  • Genetic conditions — Rare conditions can create cysts as one of many symptoms,  including basal cell nevus syndrome (which affects skin and nerves and most commonly affects adolescents) and Gardner’s syndrome (which most prominently affects the colon)

Schedule A Consultation

Take control of your health and your life by choosing medical providers who are caring and concerned, open and honest. Set up a consultation visit today to see firsthand the compassionate care you will receive from our skilled and friendly team.

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Symptoms of Sebaceous Cysts

Wondering how to identify a sebaceous cyst or tell it apart from other skin lesions, such as acne? Here are some common signs your skin lump is a cyst:

  • Blackhead — A tiny blackhead plugging the central opening of the cyst
  • Drainage — A thick, yellow, smelly material that sometimes drains from the cyst
  • Inflammation — Redness, swelling, and tenderness in the area
  • Location — Lumps show up on face, neck, scalp, back or torso

Diagnosis of Sebaceous Cysts

Your doctor will perform a physical examination of your skin lumps and discuss your symptoms with you. This is often all it takes to determine whether you have sebaceous cysts.

If the lump is unusual in some way, though, it may need to be tested to confirm it isn’t actually a cancerous tumor. This can include:

  • Size — a lump that’s 5 centimeters or bigger
  • Regrowth — the lump grows back quickly after being removed
  • Infection — redness, soreness, pus, and other signs of possible infection

If you show symptoms that warrant further testing, the doctor may order diagnostic tests such as:

  • CT scan — to spot abnormalities
  • Ultrasound — to determine what the cyst contains
  • Punch biopsy — removal of small part of cyst to analyze it for cancerous cells

Treatment and Prognosis for Sebaceous Cysts

Sebaceous cysts are benign, so their prognosis is very good. In many cases, they will cause no significant symptoms. But it is possible that they may grow larger, cause discomfort, or look unattractive.

To treat the cyst, your doctor may recommend various medical solutions including:

  • Removal — Surgical excision may be performed in the office under local anesthetic
  • Drainage — The cyst may be drained, especially if it is infected or abscessed

Schedule a Consultation 

Skin lumps and cysts don’t have to keep you worried and uncomfortable. Find honest answers and personalized care for your sebaceous cysts and other skin issues from the caring medical team at Midtown Surgical & Skin Institute. Set up a consultation visit today!

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