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.
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.
Cysts can cause the following symptoms:
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.