Minimally Invasive Epidermal Cyst Removal
Epidermal cysts (also called epidermoid cysts or sebaceous cysts) are benign small bumps beneath the skin. They can appear anywhere on the skin, but are most common on the face, neck, chest, back and trunk. Epidermal cysts form when epidermal cells are implanted below the skin, usually due to an injury or trauma in the area, causing keratin to accumulate.
Epidermal cysts are not related to sebaceous glands. Therefore, “sebaceous cyst”, though a commonly used term, is a misnomer.
Symptoms of Epidermal Cysts
The signs and symptoms of epidermal cysts include:
- A round, movable bump under the skin, of varying sizes;
- A tiny blackhead plugging the central opening of the cyst;
- Usually not painful or itchy, unless inflamed or infected.
Epidermal cysts should not be squeezed as this can cause inflammation and infection, complicating the treatment.
How Epidermal Cysts Are Treated?
In many cases, epidermal cysts can be left untreated and monitored. However, you should seek treatment if the cyst causes cosmetic problems or discomfort, especially if it shows signs of inflammation or infection.
(a) Conventional Surgical Excision
Surgical excision is the only way for epidermal cyst removal. Conventionally, the procedure involves the use of a scalpel and often leaves a scar proportional to the size of the cyst. A larger wound also means that hypertrophic scars or keloids are more likely to develop.
(b) Minimally Invasive Technique
In view of the shortcomings of conventional surgical excision, a minimally invasive procedure for epidermal cyst removal has been developed. During the procedure, a small hole with a diameter of 2-3 mm is made at the apex of the cyst using a CO2 laser or a surgical punch. The liquid content (i.e. keratin debris from skin surface) inside of the cyst is then extracted through the hole, after which the cyst wall is removed by fine surgical instruments. Research has shown that this technique has a shorter recovery time, and leads to lesser scarring, while the recurrence rate (at around 3%) is comparable to the conventional method.
* The images above are for reference only. The actual treatment outcomes depend on various factors.
Epidermal Cyst Removal Cost
Minimally invasive epidermal cyst removal is a quick and simple procedure that can be performed at a day centre. It takes around 20-30 minutes. The cost in Hong Kong is approximately HKD10,000.
* All content in this website is for informational or educational purposes only. If in doubt, you should consult your doctor or other healthcare professionals.