Dr. Kolachalam, Cysts

Fatty cyst cartoon

Fatty cyst cartoon


What is a Cyst?


A cyst is a piece of tissue rolled up in a ball, usually containing fluid or tissue debris or both. There are many types of cysts, though to only name a few: Sebaceous Cysts, Dermoid Cysts, & Congenital Cysts

Sebaceous & Dermoid Cysts

These first two cysts contain old skin, which is cheesy in appearance.

Sebaceous cysts-  

Sebaceous Cyst

Sebaceous Cyst

These have a small connection, which reaches the skin surface. They can therefore get infected by germs, which come from the skin into the cyst. Once this happens, they are a frightful nuisance and can get reinfected. So it is better to remove them before this happens.


These are similar cysts but without the communication with the surface, so they don’t get infected. They may occur in the scalp area and often grow at the outside edge of the eyebrow or in the midline of the neck. They are removed, usually because the doctor cannot be sure of the diagnosis. Eyebrow dermoids are obvious but can get very large and ugly. Of course, if they are allowed to grow, they will require a larger incision to remove.

Congenital Cysts

These are present at birth or before birth. There are two types of congenital cysts.

Thyroglossal duct cysts –

This cyst is a swelling along a hollow tube that runs between the tongue and the thyroid gland. Since the thyroglossal duct communicates with the inside of the mouth at the back of the tongue, germs can get in and cause an infection. This is a mess and is hard to remove completely. Therefore, this kind of cyst usually is removed as soon as it is diagnosed.

Branchial Cleft Cyst-

This cyst is a remnant of a process that happened very early on in fetal development. In the developing neck, fissures appear, called branchial clefts that are open to the outside and the inside of the throat, a bit like the gills of a fish. Neck organs are developed from these areas, and usually the neck closes up after this process is finished. Occasionally an opening between the throat and the side of the neck persists, and saliva can dribble out onto the neck from a tiny pinhole.  Germs from the mouth and throat get trapped and cause an infection. So, it is better to remove the cyst or tract before infection happens.


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