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Epidermoid Cysts

Epidermoid Cysts

4-image diagram showing the removal of a epidermoid cystAn epidermoid cyst is a small, harmless lump that forms beneath the skin, usually on the face, neck, or trunk. It is characterized by a round bump under the skin, a tiny blackhead blocking the opening of the cyst, yellow discharge from the cyst, and, if it becomes inflamed or infected, redness, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area. While anyone can develop these cysts, individuals who have reached puberty, those with specific genetic disorders, and those who have experienced skin injuries are more prone to them.

Epidermoid cysts are often mistaken for sebaceous cysts and can also occur due to damage to hair follicles or the outer layer of the skin. These slow-growing lumps are typically painless, but if they become painful, rupture, or get infected, it may be necessary to remove them. 

The Treatment

Treatment options for epidermoid cysts may involve injections to reduce swelling and inflammation, incisions and drainage to release the contents of the cyst, or minor surgery to completely eliminate the cyst.

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For a solitary neurofibroma that does not cause any symptoms or is smaller than an inch in diameter, it is often recommended to simply observe the tumor. Treatment for neurofibromas usually involves a combination of monitoring and surgical removal. The specific type of surgery performed depends on the tumor’s location, size, and whether it is intertwined with multiple nerves. The primary objective of the surgical procedure is to successfully eliminate the tumor while avoiding any damage to the nerves.


Resembling a cyst in appearance, a lipoma is a slow-growing mass composed of fat cells that typically resides in the subcutaneous layer of the skin, nestled between the skin and the underlying muscle layer. Although most lipomas are small, measuring less than 2 inches in diameter, they have the potential to increase in size. They possess a soft or doughy texture and can easily move when slight pressure is applied. Lipomas tend to develop in individuals during middle age, commonly appearing in the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, and thighs.

Typically, lipomas do not cause tenderness, but they may induce pain if they enlarge and exert pressure on nearby nerves or contain a multitude of blood vessels. The exact cause of lipomas remains partially elusive, but it is believed that genetic factors contribute to their formation. To diagnose a lipoma, a physical examination, biopsy, and X-ray may be conducted. If the lump becomes bothersome, painful, or continues to grow, medical professionals may recommend the removal of the lipoma through either dermatology surgery or a liposuction procedure.

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