Cysts are tiny pockets of fluid or keratin that slowly grow under the skin. They are common and can occur anywhere on the skin, particularly the back. A cyst appears as dilated sac-like structures below the skin. Because the lining of this sack contains normal skin, it continues to shed skin cells just like the skin does. These dead skin cells become compacted and as more accumulate, the cyst develops into a lump. Occasionally, the sack ruptures beneath the skin, resulting in an inflammatory reaction that causes pain, redness, and drainage of a smelly fluid consisting the dead skin cells. If this occurs, you should see your dermatologist for treatment to decrease the risk of secondary infection and scarring. Should a cyst become infected, it could require oral antibiotics, draining, or cortisone injections.
While cysts are usually benign and can be watched without treatment, they can also be removed by simple surgery. During this outpatient surgical procedure, the cyst is numbed with local anesthesia, and then its sack is carefully extracted out of the skin via a small incision. Once removed, the wound is stitched, and a small scar results. Surgical excision is the most reliable way to remove cysts. If they are simply drained, they will refill over time.
For more information on cyst removal in Palm Desert, California, please give Dermatology & Plastic Surgery Specialists a call at 760-773-6616 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Michael J. Messina.