Epidermoid Cyst removal by Dr. Sandra Lee (VIDEO)


Epidermoid cysts are usually caused by a buildup of keratin. Keratin is a protein that occurs naturally in skin cells. Cysts develop when the protein is trapped below the skin because of disruption to the skin or to a hair follicle. These cysts often develop in response to skin trauma, HPV infection, acne, or excessive exposure to the sun. An epidermoid cyst is more likely to develop in people with acne or other skin conditions.

What are epidermoid cysts?
An epidermoid cyst (Epidermal Inclusion cyst, Infundibular cyst), is a benign growth commonly found in the skin and typically appears on the face, neck or trunk, but can occur anywhere on the body. Another name used is “sebacous cyst” but this is actually an antiquated misnomer, and is not a term used by dermatologists.

They are also the most common type of cutaneous cysts. Epidermoid cysts result from the reproduction of epidermal cells within a confined space of the dermis. The pasty contents are mostly composed of macerated keratin (wet skin cells), which creates this “cheesy” consistency, and there can be a pungent odor. An epidermoid cyst may have no symptoms and are typically harmless. Usually people seek removal because they don’t like the appearance of these bumps, or the cyst has ruptured or been inflamed or “infected” in the past. Rupture is associated with sudden redness, pain, swelling, and local heat, and can lead to abscess formation.

What causes epidermoid cysts?

Epidermoid cysts are usually caused by a buildup of keratin. Keratin is a protein that occurs naturally in skin cells. Cysts develop when the protein is trapped below the skin because of disruption to the skin or to a hair follicle. These cysts often develop in response to skin trauma, HPV infection, acne, or excessive exposure to the sun. An epidermoid cyst is more likely to develop in people with acne or other skin conditions.

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How are epidermoid cysts diagnosed?

To diagnose epidermoid cysts, a physician will examine the bump and surrounding skin, as well as take a medical history. They will ask for details on how long the bump has been present and whether it has changed over time. Physicians can usually diagnose an epidermoid cyst by examination only, but sometimes an ultrasound or a referral to a dermatologist is needed to confirm the diagnosis.

How are epidermoid cysts treated?
Most epidermoid cysts either stop growing or go away on their own without treatment. Physicians will usually make note of a cyst and monitor it during each checkup to make sure that it has not changed. Since epidermoid cysts are very rarely cancerous, they do not pose a risk. Most are never treated.

Treatment may be required if the cyst becomes red, swollen, painful, changes in size or character, or is infected. In such cases, treatment options include antibiotics and drainage. Sometimes the cyst may need to be surgically removed. It can also be removed for cosmetic reasons.

Also, a history of inflammation, often increases scar tissue in the area, makes the cyst more firmly adherent to surrounding skin, and makes it more difficult to remove. Surgical excision is curative, but the complete cyst removal including the entire cyst sac and contents need to be removed to ensure that the cyst won’t reoccur.

Watch the video below for more: