A lipoma is slow-growing, benign growth of fat cells. It is contained in a thin, fibrous capsule and found right under the skin. A lipoma is typically not tender and moves around easily with slight pressure. A lipoma is not cancerous and treatment generally is not necessary. There is also a condition called familial lipomatosus, where people develop multiple lipomas, especially on the arms and legs, and other family members have these growths as well. If the lipoma is on a pressure-bearing area, it may create discomfort and this is when people seek removal. People also request removal because they don’t like the appearance of these bumps. Often a small incision can be made over the lipoma and they can be “popped” out easily. This is a simple in-office surgical procedure under local anesthesia.
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Note: This video may contain dermatologic surgical and/or procedural content. The content seen in this video is provided only for medical education purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Pus is an exudate, typically white-yellow, yellow, or yellow-brown, formed at the site of inflammation during bacterial or fungal infection.An accumulation of pus in an enclosed tissue space is known as an abscess , whereas a visible collection of pus within or beneath the epidermis is known as a pustle ,pimple or spot.
Pus consists of a thin, protein-rich fluid, known as liquor puris, and dead leukocytes from the body’s immune response (mostly neutrophils). During infection, macrophages release cytokines which trigger neutrophils to seek the site of infection by chemotaxis. There, the neutrophils release granules which destroy the bacteria. The bacteria resist the immune response by releasing toxins called leukocidins. As the neutrophils die off from toxins and old age, they are destroyed by macrophages, forming the viscous pus.
Bacteria that cause pus are called pyogenic.
Although pus is normally of a whitish-yellow hue, changes in the color can be observed under certain circumstances. Pus is sometimes green because of the presence of myeloperoxidase, an intensely green antibacterial protein produced by some types of white blood cells. Green, foul-smelling pus is found in certain infections of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The greenish color is a result of the bacterial pigment pyocyanin that it produces. Amoebic abscesses of the liver produce brownish pus, which is described as looking like “anchovy paste”. Pus from anaerobic infections can more often have a foul odor.
In almost all cases when there is a collection of pus in the body, the clinician will try to create an opening to drain it. This principle has been distilled into the famous Latin aphorism “Ubi pus, ibi evacua” (“Where there is pus, evacuate it”).
Some disease processes caused by pyogenic infections are impetigo, osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, and necrotizing fasciitis
A skin cyst is a fluid-filled lump just underneath the skin. It’s common and harmless, and may disappear without treatment.
It can be difficult to tell whether a lump is a cyst or something else that might need treatment. You should therefore see your GP if you have any sort of lump so it can be properly diagnosed.
Cysts are sometimes confused with boils or skin abscesses. Boils and abscesses are painful collections of pus that indicate an infection. A cyst may go on to become a boil or abscess.
What a cyst looks like
A skin cyst is a round, dome-shaped lump. It’s yellow or white, often with a small dark plug through which you might be able to squeeze out pus.
Cysts can range in size from smaller than a pea to a few centimetres across. They grow slowly.
Skin cysts don’t usually hurt, but can become tender, sore and red if they become infected. Foul-smelling pus coming out of the cyst is another sign of infection.
Types of skin cyst
Epidermoid cysts (one of the main types) are commonly found on the face, neck, chest, shoulders or skin around the genitals.
They affect young and middle-aged adults, and are particularly common in people with acne. They don’t usually run in families.
Cysts that form around hair follicles are known as pilar cysts. They’re often found on the scalp.
Pilar cysts typically affect middle-aged adults, particularly women. Unlike epidermoid cysts, they run in families.
A cyst that forms on the eyelid is called a chalazion or meibomian cyst.
Why do cysts form?
Some of the cells in the top layer of skin produce keratin, a protein that gives skin its strength and flexibility. Normally, these cells move up to the surface of the skin as they start to die, so they can be shed.
However, the cells sometimes move deeper into your skin and multiply, forming a sac. They secrete keratin into the middle of the sac, which forms a thick, yellow paste. This can ooze out of the cyst if it’s burst.
Anyone can develop a skin cyst, but you’re more likely to have one if you’ve been through puberty, you have a history of acne, or you’ve injured the skin – for example, if you’ve damaged a hair follicle.
Treating skin cysts
Cysts are usually harmless. Small cysts that aren’t causing any problems can be left alone.
Holding a warm flannel against the skin will encourage the cyst to heal and reduce any inflammation.
Don’t be tempted to burst the cyst. If it’s infected, you risk spreading the infection, and if the sac is left underneath the skin, it can grow back.
See your GP if you think the cyst is infected – you may need a course of antibiotics.
If a cyst is causing problems, such as catching on your clothes, or if it looks unsightly, it can be removed. Your GP will use a local anaesthetic to numb your skin, before making a tiny cut and squeezing the cyst out.
This procedure will leave a scar. The cyst may also grow back, particularly if it was removed from the scalp or scrotum.
Sebaceous cysts are common noncancerous cysts of the skin. Cysts are abnormalities in the body that may contain liquid or semiliquid material.
Sebaceous cysts are mostly found on the face, neck, or torso. They grow slowly and are not life-threatening, but they may become uncomfortable if they go unchecked.
Doctors usually diagnose a cyst with only a physical examination and medical history. In some cases, a cyst will be examined more thoroughly for signs of cancer.
Causes of a sebaceous cyst
Sebaceous cysts form out of your sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland produces the oil called sebum that coats your hair and skin. Cysts can develop if the gland or its duct, the passage where oil is able to leave, becomes damaged or blocked. This usually occurs due to a trauma to the area.
The trauma may be a scratch, a surgical wound, or a skin condition, such as acne. Sebaceous cysts grow slowly, so the trauma may have occurred months or weeks before you notice the cyst.
Other causes of a sebaceous cyst may include:
a misshapen or deformed duct
damage to the cells during a surgery
genetic conditions, such as Gardner’s syndrome or basal cell nevus syndrome
Symptoms of sebaceous cyst
Small cysts are typically not painful. Large cysts can range from uncomfortable to considerably painful. Large cysts on the face and neck may cause pressure and pain.
This type of cyst is typically filled with white flakes of keratin, which is also a key element that makes up your skin and nails. Most cysts are soft to the touch.
Areas on the body where cysts are usually found include:
A sebaceous cyst is considered unusual — and possibly cancerous — if it has the following characteristics:
a diameter that is larger than five centimeters
a fast rate of reoccurrence after being removed
signs of infection, such as redness, pain, or pus drainage
Common tests used for a sebaceous cyst include:
CT scans, which help your doctor find the best route for surgery and spot abnormalities
ultrasounds, which identify the contents inside the cyst
punch biopsy, which involves removal of a small amount of tissue from the cyst to be examined in a laboratory for signs of cancer
Treatment of sebaceous cyst
Your doctor can treat a cyst by draining it or by surgically removing it. Normally, cysts are removed. This is not because they are dangerous but rather for cosmetic reasons. Since most cysts are not harmful to your health, your doctor will allow you to pick the treatment option that works for you.
It is important to remember that without surgical removal, your cyst will usually come back. The best treatment is to ensure complete removal through surgery. Some people do decide against surgery, however, because it can cause scarring.
our doctor may use one of the following methods to remove your cyst:
conventional wide excision: completely removes a cyst but can leave a long scar
minimal excision: causes minimal scarring but carries a risk that the cyst will return
laser with punch biopsy excision: the laser is used to make a small hole to drain cyst contents and the outer walls of the cyst are removed about a month later
After your cyst is removed, your doctor may give you an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. You should use this until the healing process is complete. You may also be given a scar cream to reduce the appearance of any surgical scars.