Dr Steven Smith is a board certified Dermatologist in Kingwood and in his 30+ year career has removed 1000′s of cyst’s from patients. While most cysts typically only require a quick minor surgical procedure to have them removed in some cases they have been found to be something more including cancerous. That is why its important to have a dermatologist like Dr. Smith doing the removal of any cyst he will be able to evaluate if the cyst is a fibrous mass or something serious.

When we use the term cysts, we are usually referring to a small mass which manifests just beneath the surface of the skin as small “lumps” that may vary in size. Though these lumps can virtually affect any area of the body, as dermatologists we treat cysts that occur in the epidermal layers of the skin forming either between the layers of the epidermis or that originate in the skin’s hair follicles.

What exactly are epidermal cysts?

cyst1As a patient affected by a small lump beneath the skin, you might be affected by one of two varieties. Epidermoid cysts are those that occur between epidermal layers of the skin, while Pilar cysts (also known as trichilemmal cysts) are those that originate in the hair follicle of the skin.

These cystic masses generally can consist of:

  • Fibrous tissues and fluids, and possible reddening of the affected area
  • Fatty semi-solid material comprised of keratin—a white, pasty substance, that might have the odor of fermented cheese curd.
  • Or in other instances the cyst may contain a semi-solid mixture of tissue and fluid (containing a type of pus and bloody material that might indicate infection).  These cysts usually have a darker color beneath the surface of the cyst somewhat like a blood blister.

The nature of the contents of a cyst, and of its surrounding capsule, will be determined by whether the cyst has ever been infected.

Should I be worried?

cyst2Early detection of cysts is important to your health.  While most dermatological cysts are harmless, there is always the potential that a cyst might become prone to infection or that it could be linked to a patient’s susceptibility to skin cancer.

That is why we recommend the cyst be scheduled for a minor surgical procedure.  Lancing the cyst in an excision or using a scalpel to make a small incision under local anesthetic to numb the affected area, the cysts are removed which is then stitched and disinfected. As a service to you, we recommend an optional biopsy is performed for your ease-of-mind.  A completely removed cyst will not recur, though if the patient has a predisposition to cyst formation, further cysts may develop in the same general area.