Cyst Removal

cyst removal

What is cyst removal?

A cyst is a closed sac or tissue pocket often filled with fluid, air, pus, or other substances. They can develop in any part of the body, either outside the skin or on internal organs and tissues such as the ovaries, breasts, and kidneys. 

We develop cysts for various reasons, including tumours, blocked ducts, genetic or hormonal factors, physical trauma or injury, or chronic inflammation. In many cases, the exact cause is unknown. Some people are more prone to developing cysts than others. Not all cysts must be removed, as they may be benign, harmless, and very small. However, a cyst may be removed due to:

  • Cosmetic concerns: cysts on the skin's surface, such as epidermoid cysts or sebaceous cysts, are often removed if they are large, causing cosmetic concern, or are uncomfortable for the patient. 
  • Infection: cysts can become infected, leading to inflammation, swelling, and pain. If this happens, your doctor may remove it to ease discomfort and prevent the infection from worsening.
  • Pain and discomfort: when a cyst has formed in the organs, it may cause pain and discomfort for the patient. It may be removed to ease these symptoms or to be sent for a biopsy to determine if it is cancerous or has formed due to an underlying health concern.
remove cysts
Cyst removal depends on the exact nature of the cysts and if it’s causing complications.

How does cyst removal work?

During a cyst removal procedure, the cyst and/or its contents are taken out of the body through surgery or drainage. There are a few ways that a doctor can remove or drain a cyst, depending on its location. 

The most common methods of cyst removal are:

  • Drainage: a doctor makes a small incision in the skin for superficial or small cysts and drains the cyst's contents. This is a relatively minor procedure.
  • Excision: if a cyst is large or more complicated, it often requires surgical excision, where the surgeon removes the entire cyst and surrounding tissues. 
  • Endoscopic removal: cysts formed within internal organs or cavities can be removed using minimally invasive techniques like endoscopy, which involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera into the body to guide the removal.
  • Fine-needle aspiration (FNA): a needle is used to aspirate (withdraw) the fluid for cysts that are primarily fluid-filled.
cyst removal
Cysts can be removed if they are causing pain or for cosmetic reasons.

Benefits of cyst removal

  • Eases pain and discomfort
  • Prevents infection and other complications
  • Allows for diagnostic procedures 
  • Improves self-confidence and quality of life

What conditions can cyst removal treat?

Depending on the type of cyst, a cyst removal procedure can treat several conditions. These include:

  • Skin cysts: also known as epidermoid or sebaceous cysts, they may be harmless but are often removed due to pain, infection, or cosmetic concerns. 
  • Ovarian cysts: not all ovarian cysts require removal, but they may be recommended if they are causing pain or discomfort, affect fertility, or have the potential to become cancerous. 
  • Pancreatic cysts: when cysts are located on the pancreas, they may be removed to treat symptoms such as pain or to eliminate further complications.
  • Ganglion cysts: ganglion cysts, which develop in the tendons in the wrists or hands, are often removed if they cause pain and interfere with the mobility and function of the joints.
  • Breast cysts: cysts on the breasts are often removed if they are large or a health concern.
  • Bartholin's cysts: when cysts form in the vulva, the Bartholin glands can become blocked. This causes pain and discomfort, especially during sexual activity. Treatment may involve drainage or surgical removal.
  • Pilonidal cysts: pilonidal cysts develop near the tailbone at the top of the buttocks. They can be painful and infected.
ganglion cysts
Ganglion cysts, which develop in the tendons in the wrists or hands, are often removed if they are causing pain and interfere with the mobility and function of the joints.

What results can I expect from a cyst removal?

The exact results of a cyst removal surgery depend on the location of the cyst, size, and severity of symptoms. You can expect improvement in symptoms such as pain and discomfort. Patients can also expect the prevention of further complications if the cysts are situated on an organ or tissue. If your surgical specialist suspects cancer or other complications, the cyst will be sent for a biopsy for further testing. 

In some cases, cyst removal or drainage is done under local anaesthesia. If your cyst removal is done under general anaesthesia, your doctor will inform you of any side effects that may occur, such as nausea, drowsiness, and vomiting. Depending on the nature of your cyst, you can go home the same day as the procedure. For more complicated cyst removal surgeries, you may need to stay at the hospital for a few days to recover.

How many treatment sessions are needed?

Typically, a cyst removal is done within one treatment session. However, if there are several cysts or a complicated case, it may take more than one session. 

Frequently asked questions

Like any surgical procedure, there are some risks associated with cyst removal, including infection, bleeding, scarring, and side effects related to anaesthesia. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about any risks.
While complete removal does reduce the risk of recurrence, there is still the chance that some cysts may return. It often depends on the type of cyst. Your doctor may advise you to return for follow-up appointments to check if there has been a recurrence.

It depends on the cyst, location, and technique used to remove it. However, local anaesthesia is often used to numb the area and minimise pain during the procedure. If it’s done under general anaesthesia, you won’t feel any pain during the procedure but may feel discomfort during the healing process. 

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