Cysts are sacs filled with fluid or solid masses. While they often may not pose a significant health risk, these objects can be both unsightly and painful. For these reasons, many patients seek cyst excisions, or cyst removal. Such measures often require fairly significant operations, but more minor outpatient surgical procedures are not uncommon. If a cyst occurs on the skin, the two surgical procedures of choice are complete excision or drainage followed by sac excision.
A medical professional may discover cysts directly beneath the skin or further inside the body. When a cyst occurs underneath the skin, it is known as an epidermoid — or sebaceous — cyst. Cysts can result from trauma, clogged pores, or bacterial infection. If the cyst becomes regularly inflamed or unsightly, surgical cyst excisions may be recommended.
One method for sebaceous cyst excisions involves drainage and subsequent sac removal. Since cysts are often filled with fluids, the liquid may need to be removed first. This task is accomplished by making a small cut on top of the cyst and then draining the fluid through this cut. Following drainage, the remaining sac is removed using scissors and forceps.
These microincision techniques for cyst excisions are sometimes preferable because they leave smaller scars. The two basic types of microincision are punch biopsy and minimal excision. Both follow the same basic procedure of cut, drainage, and removal. The primary difference is cut size. Punch biopsy techniques require excisions of about 0.16 inch (4 millimeters), whereas minimal excision only requires 0.07 to 0.12 inch (2 to 3 millimeter) cuts.
Despite the larger scars, conventional sebaceous cyst excisions are generally recommended because drainage makes inflammation and recurrence more likely. This type of excision removes the whole cyst at once. Skin separations are made across or around the cyst.
The physician may either use a scalpel or a device called a curved hemostat for whole cyst excisions. The former method is frequently called sharp dissection because it involves actual cutting. In contrast, the latter method, known as blunt dissection, separates and removes tissues along natural splits in the skin without cutting. Some conventional procedures use both sharp and blunt dissection.
Internal cysts have many of the same causes as external cysts, such as injury or blockage. Due to their possible proximity to important organs, however, removal of these cysts may be more crucial. On occasion, the cyst may be drained without surgical intervention through needles or catheters. If a cyst poses a potential risk, however, surgical removal from the afflicted area is advisable, provided the cyst is in a surgically safe location. As cysts can appear in various parts of the body, the depth and invasiveness of the surgery will depend on cyst location.