What is Sebaceous Cyst?
A sebaceous cyst is a slow-growing cyst that originates directly from the sebaceous glands. They are also known as epidermal cysts, keratin cysts, or epithelial cysts. They affect around 20% of adults and usually don’t exhibit symptoms like pain or tenderness. This type of cyst is also benign and non-cancerous in nature.
However, in some cases, sebaceous cysts can become infected, inflamed, or burst. As a result, you may have to seek treatment for sebaceous cysts.
How do sebaceous cysts form?
To understand how sebaceous cysts form, you need to understand the function of sebaceous glands. These glands are present under the skin and produce oil called sebum. This oil coats the hair and skin. Most sebaceous glands are present around hair follicles, and some are also present on the open surface of the skin.
Sometimes, the duct (the passage from which the oil leaves the skin) gets damaged and blocked. The blockage can happen due to any reason, including a scratch, surgical wound, or even acne. As the cyst grows slowly, it usually becomes noticeable weeks or months after the cyst has formed.
When you squeeze the cyst, the fluid, i.e., sebum, comes out of it. Though they are generally harmless, if they become infected, the cyst will become red and start to swell. There might even be a foul-smelling discharge from the cyst. If such symptoms are present, it is advisable that you see a doctor and consult them.
Types of Sebaceous Cyst
- Epidermoid Cyst
- Pilar Cyst
Causes & Symptoms of Sebaceous Cyst
- Damaged ducts of sebaceous glands
- Blocked ducts
- Trauma on the skin
- Misshapen or deformed ducts
- Genetic conditions, such as basal cell nevus syndrome
- Small lump under the skin
- Painless lump
- A visible hole in the middle also called the central punctum,
- Move freely when touched
- Composed of white-colored fluid that has a foul odor
- Redness and tenderness (if become infected)
Sebaceous Cyst Diagnosis
You can self-diagnose a sebaceous cyst if you know the symptoms it exhibits. For instance, you can evaluate its appearance. If the cyst appears as a bump on the skin with a small tip that looks like an opening, it may be a sebaceous cyst.
Other than appearance, you can also identify other characteristics of the cyst, i.e., it has a white discharge, and the cyst moves under the skin. The cyst may also have tenderness. However, through these symptoms, you can only assume that the cyst is a sebaceous cyst. For confirmation, it is important that you visit a specialist.
Diagnosis by Doctor
For the trained eyes of the doctor, sebaceous cysts are easy to identify solely by their appearance. Still, after physically examining the cyst, the doctor will suggest some pathological tests to confirm that the lump is a sebaceous cyst and not any other type of cyst.
The doctor will also recommend a biopsy to rule out the possibility of cancer.
Test Recommended For Sebaceous Cyst
The tests that help the doctor to accurately diagnose a sebaceous cyst are:
- Ultrasound helps to determine the contents (liquid or semi-solid) of the cyst.
- A punch biopsy is done to examine the cyst and look for signs of cancer.
- A CT scan is done if the doctor thinks that surgery will be required to remove the sebaceous cyst. This test will help the surgeon find the best path to access the cyst without damaging the nerves and surrounding muscles. Furthermore, it also helps to identify any abnormalities with the cyst.
What Happens if Sebaceous Cyst is Left Untreated?
In some cases, the sebaceous cyst goes away on its own. However, there is also a possibility that the cyst will become infected. When the cyst gets infected, the skin will look red due to inflammation.
At this point, treatment is crucial to ensure that the infection from the cyst doesn’t spread further.
Infection is one of the major signs that a sebaceous cyst is possibly cancerous. Along with this, if the cyst grows larger than 5 cm, then it is considered severe, and treatment becomes critically necessary.
How to Prevent Sebaceous Cyst?
There is no certain preventative measure for sebaceous cysts. They can arise even if the sebaceous glands suffer from minor trauma. Or they may not arise at all, even if the ducts are damaged or blocked. Thus, you cannot do anything to prevent the cysts from developing. Moreover, they can also occur at any age. The only possible thing you can do is visit a specialist the moment you notice the lump.
When to Consult a Doctor for Sebaceous Cyst?
You should consult a doctor if the cyst:
- Grows rapidly
- Gets ruptured
- Becomes painful
- Gets infected
- Bothers you because of the appearance
- It is located in an unusual location, such as the finger or toe.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Which board are you certified from?
- How many years of experience do you have?
- What type of cyst do I have?
- Which technique will be used to remove the sebaceous cyst?
- Is surgical excision of sebaceous cyst safe?
- What are the risks and complications associated with sebaceous cyst removal surgery?
- How will you ensure that no complications arise during the surgery?
- How long will I have to stay in the hospital?
- What can I do for a faster recovery?
- When should I come back for a follow-up?
Sebaceous Cyst Treatment Cost in India & Insurance Coverage
Sebaceous cyst removal surgery will cost you around Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 approximately based on the factors given below:
- The severity of the condition
- Doctor’s consultation and operating fee
- The overall health of the patient
- Number of cysts that need removal
- The technique chosen for the excision
- Risks and complications
- Choice of hospital
- Hospital admission, discharge, and bed charges
- Diagnostic tests
- Post-surgery follow-ups
The cost is calculated after accounting for all these factors. During your consultation with the doctor, you can ask the doctor to give you an estimate of the cost of sebaceous cyst excision surgery.
Sebaceous cyst surgery is covered under all personal and corporate insurance policies. This is so because it has the potential to become cancerous. Therefore, the treatment expenses are covered by the insurance providers. You can use either the claim method or the reimbursement method to cover the expenses incurred during the treatment.
You should also understand that a 24-hour stay in the hospital is required to get approval for a claim against insurance.