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Infected sebaceous cyst


A cyst is a lump that develops within a tissue. Among skin cysts, there is the sebaceous cyst that develops in the epidermis layer of the skin, more specifically in a sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland's function is to secrete sebum in the skin: it is a kind of material that lubricates it. Sebaceous cysts will especially appear in the case of obliteration of normal output channels of sebum, which causes its accumulation in the skin. Typically, a sebaceous cyst is totally benign, but it can sometimes become infected, essentially by bacterial germs.


The main symptoms of a sebaceous cyst are:
  • the appearance of a lump under the skin, rounded and usually painless;
  • in case of infection, other signs will be perceived:
    • an inflammatory reaction with redness, increased heat and increased spontaneous pain upon palpation of the cyst;
    • occasionally, the presence of pus, which can be removed by pressure.


The diagnosis of a sebaceous cyst is generally easy and made by viewing the round formation. Its location is often evocative: the back and neck are the most commonly affected. When the sebaceous cyst is infected, its clinical features are fairly obvious and should allow the establishment of a treatment.


Uninfected sebaceous cysts require no care: a simple monitoring is enough. However, they can sometimes be incised for aesthetical reasons. In the case of an infected sebaceous cyst, treatment is often done by the microsurgical removal of the cyst, sometimes associated with antibiotics.