What is a sebaceous cyst?

A sebaceous cyst is a lump found in the body. It contains a closed sac containing an oily substance that looks like cheese. This substance is called sebum. Often the contents of a sebaceous cyst have an unpleasant odor.

The main symptom of a sebaceous cyst is a lump that can occur anywhere on the body. However, they tend to appear on the face and neck; some people develop them in the breast area or abdomen, and they can also appear in the genital area. Sometimes a sebaceous cyst becomes infected. When this occurs, symptoms of infection may include redness and tenderness; sometimes the skin over the cyst may become hot or warm. Likewise, a cheesy-looking, dirty substance may begin to drain from the bump.

In general, a sebaceous cyst is very easy to diagnose. An experienced medical professional can usually tell what it is just by looking at it. However, doctors sometimes order biopsies to make sure a patient doesn't have another, similar condition. Treatment is usually easy as well. In fact, most sebaceous cysts do not require any treatment, and when left on their own, they go away on their own over time.

In some cases, waiting for a sebaceous cyst to resolve on its own may not be the best option; for example, they can sometimes become inflamed and uncomfortable. In such a case, a person may wish for it to be removed rather than wait. Also, sebaceous cysts can grow very large in some cases and begin to interfere with a person's lifestyle; This may require removal as well. Large sebaceous cysts can be removed through a surgical procedure that is done in a doctor's office. Smaller cysts may not require surgery; Steroid injections and antibiotic treatments may be used instead.

Although most sebaceous cysts do not turn into something different, it is possible for them to form abscesses. When this occurs, the patient may experience pain in the area and removal may be necessary. When a sebaceous cyst is surgically removed, it is important for the doctor to be sure that the entire sac is removed. By doing so, he or she can prevent symptoms from recurring.

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