When Is the Right Time for Cyst Removal Surgery?

Man with a cyst on his neck When Is the Right Time for Cyst Removal Surgery?

Curious about when the best time to remove a cyst is? Here are a few things you need to know about skin cysts and when they need to be removed.

What to Know About Cysts and Cyst Removal

What Is a Cyst?

Before we talk about cyst removal, it's important to understand what cysts are and how they form. Cysts are fairly common on the skin. A cyst is a closed sac with a defined membrane that contains fluid, air, or semi-solid materials. A multitude of factors can contribute to the development of a cyst, including acne. A few more of the most common causes of cyst development are infection, skin trauma, and hormonal imbalances. It's also possible to have a genetic predisposition for cyst development in some cases. Most cysts are benign in nature, though it's pretty common for your dermatologist to order a biopsy to run further tests. Some cysts may be cancerous or may be infected.

Are There Different Types of Cysts?

Cysts are a fairly common occurrence, but not all cysts are the same. In fact, there are several different types of cyst. Let's review a few of them.

Of all skin cysts, sebaceous cysts are probably the most common. Sebaceous cysts form when keratin fluid is trapped near a damaged hair follicle or a blocked duct underneath the skin. It's typically easy to mistake these cysts for pimples, but they're usually deeper beneath the skin than a whitehead or blackhead. If you're unsure whether you have a sebaceous cyst, look for a dome-shaped bump that is firm and relatively mobile. These cysts most commonly form on the scalp, face, neck, and back.

Next, we have epidermoid cysts. These cysts are also the result of keratin buildup beneath the skin. They may also become swollen, red, and painful if infected. While they're typically benign and slow-growing, they can still be irritating if they're not treated properly. Epidermoid cysts are most commonly found on the face, head, neck, and back.

Finally, let's review ganglion cysts. Also quite common, these cysts are round, fluid-filled lumps of tissue that most often appear along tendons or on joints. They're particularly common on the hands, wrists, ankles, and feet. Fortunately, ganglion cysts don't pose a threat to your health unless they begin putting pressure on joints and other body parts.

When Should a Cyst Be Removed?

In most cases, it's really not necessary to remove a benign cyst unless it's causing pain, discomfort, or confidence issues. For example, if there's a cyst on your face or neck and every time you cleanse your face it gets irritated, it's worth talking to your doctor about getting it removed. The biggest reasons a cyst would need to be removed are malignant tissue or infection. When a cyst is malignant, you'll need to have it removed as soon as possible to avoid further complications. The same is true of an infected cyst.


If you're struggling with a cyst or need help identifying a cyst, contact our team at North Pacific Dermatology to set up an appointment today.

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