What is a cyst, what are the symptoms and how are they treated?

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What is a cyst?

Cysts are small, slowly-growing lumps beneath the skin surface. They vary in size from tiny and barely noticeable to a few centimeters across.

Cysts commonly occur on the face, neck, chest and back where they are known as epidermoid cysts. Cysts are also common on the scalp where they arise from hair follicles and are called pilar cysts.

What causes cysts?

The protective surface layer of the skin, the epidermis, is formed from a specialized cell type known as keratinocytes that are constantly renewed and shed. Occasionally - for reasons that are poorly understood - part of this surface layer can become implanted deeper within the skin where the cells can no longer be released and instead collect under the surface forming a cyst.

What symptoms do cysts cause?

Cysts can cause the following symptoms:

  • Cysts may be unsightly, particularly where they arise in an obvious location such as the face.
  • They may be uncomfortable - for example a large cyst on the back can cause pressure when sitting in a chair.
  • They may become infected - this causes them to become red and painful and they may burst to discharge pus.

How are cysts treated?

Cysts are one of the most common skin lesions that I treat. Under local anaesthetic. I will make a small cut over the surface of the cyst, gently separate the cyst from surrounding tissues and then extract it taking care that the entire lining of the cyst is removed to minimize the risk of the cyst regrowing.

After removing the cyst I will use fine stiches to meticulously close the wound in the skin surface to minimize scarring.

How much does cyst treatment cost?

My fee for cyst removal is £250. In addition you will be billed by the clinic for the use of the operating theatre and for pathology. These costs depend upon where the procedure is performed but, as an example, the cost at Skin55 is £500.

Most medical insurance providers will cover the cost of treatment for symptomatic cysts, however it is important to check with your insurance provider since each policy is different.

Book Consultation

To book an appointment either call 0203 389 6076 (calls are answered during working hours i.e. 9am-5pm Monday-Friday), email contact@drmagnuslynch.com or enter your details below to book online. If you need an appointment more urgently it is better to contact the practice management team as we often have evening appointments and cancellations available.
  • After submitting the form, You will receive an email containing terms and conditions with a link to confirm the appointment. If you do not click this link within 10 mins of receiving the email then your appointment will be cancelled.
  • You can change the time or cancel the appointment with no fee by speaking to the practice management team.
  • If you have any questions or prefer to book by telephone do not hesitate to contact the practice
  • Please note: for evening appointments at Guy's Hospital there may not be a nurse chaperone present so female patients should not book at this time if the condition requires undressing.
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