What is a Cyst?

A cyst is a closed capsule or sac-like structure, usually filled with liquid, semisolid, or gaseous material. Cysts usually occur within almost any type of the body’s tissue; they vary in size from microscopic to large structures that can displace internal organs. They have distinct membranes or cyst walls.

Types of Cysts?

There are hundreds of different types of cysts. Cysts can occur almost anywhere in the body (for example, on the face, scalp or back, behind the knee, arm, groin, and within organs like the liver, ovaries, kidneys, or brain). The majority of cysts are benign, but a few may contain malignant cells. The following lists some of the common cyst types we see:

  • Epidermoid (sebaceous) cyst: usually benign swelling in the skin arising in the sebaceous gland, typically filled with yellowish sebum.
  • Dermoid cyst: an abnormal growth containing epidermis, hair follicles, and sebaceous glands.
  • Sebaceous cyst: a small, noncancerous cyst that commonly appears on the torso, neck, and face.
  • Pilonidal cyst: a cyst that contains hair and skin debris near or on the cleft of the buttocks.

What should I expect from a cyst procedure?

The treatment for a cyst depends on the underlying cause of the cyst and whether or not the cyst is causing  problems.

If  cyst removal is needed or wanted, treatment may include injecting a steroid medication directly into the cyst, draining it, or surgically removing it. Steroid injection will help reduce any swelling if the cyst is tender, swollen, or growing. Minor surgery can help the cyst from coming back. During surgery a dermatologist will remove the discharge and the sac that make up the walls of the cyst.


If you have a cyst, it is important to have it checked by a dermatologist to ensure it is benign.