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Sebaceous cysts are cysts which form inside the skin and are filled with semi solid substance called the sebum. Sebum is normally produced by sebaceous glands. These lumps develop just beneath the surface of the skin. They are basically painless and can be easily moved. In some cases a sebaceous cyst may get infected and inflamed which causes redness of the skin above the cyst and pain. Sebaceous cysts may affect any part of the skin containing sebaceous glands. However, they predominantly affect the scalp, face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. In rare cases these cysts may even form in genital area. Differential diagnosis of sebaceous cysts includes epidermoid and pilar cysts.

Presentation and Causes of Sebaceous Cysts

Sebaceous cysts are located beneath the skin. They represent sacs filled with the sebum. This substance has a foul odor. Characteristic bumps are round in shape and may drastically vary in size. They are most commonly found on the scalp. Apart from sebum sebaceous cyst may also contain fibrous tissue and small amounts of fluid. If a sebaceous cyst gets inflamed it fills with puss and bloody material.

Sebaceous cysts generally develop as a consequence of skin trauma, swollen hair follicles and blockage of sebaceous glands. In some people the occurrence of sebaceous cyst is associated with high levels of testosterone. There have also been cases of sebaceous cysts caused by the attack of human botfly. And finally, some people have genetic predisposition to sebaceous cysts.

Treatment for Sebaceous Cysts

Sebaceous cysts are not serious and cause no harm. They are usually painless unless they get inflamed. The major problem related to them is their unsightly appearance. This especially bothers people in whom sebaceous cysts are located on visible areas of the body. Small sebaceous cysts usually require no treatment unless they are considered an aesthetic problem.

Inflammation of sebaceous cysts requires treatment. Patient suffering from large sebaceous cysts, inflamed ones and sebaceous cyst which are aesthetic problem are treated surgically. The sebaceous cyst is surgically removed and the surgeon pays close attention to remove the entire cyst this way preventing its reoccurrence. Reoccurrence of sebaceous cysts is common for people who are prone to their formation. Depending of the size of the cyst and its location the surgeon may perform a traditional wide excision, punch biopsy or minimal excision. If the cyst is inflamed patients are given antibiotics prior and after the surgery.

Inflammation of small sebaceous cysts can be also reduced by injection of steroids right into the cyst. In some cases sebaceous cysts can be cancerous.

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