Learn About Epidermoid Cyst

What is the definition of Epidermoid Cyst?

An epidermoid cyst is a closed sac under the skin, or a skin lump, filled with dead skin cells.

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What are the alternative names for Epidermoid Cyst?

Epidermal cyst; Keratin cyst; Epidermal inclusion cyst; Follicular infundibular cyst

What are the causes of Epidermoid Cyst?

Epidermal cysts are very common. Their cause is unknown. The cysts are formed when the surface skin is folded in on itself. The cyst then becomes filled with dead skin because as the skin grows, it can't be shed as it can elsewhere on the body. When a cyst reaches a certain size, it usually stops growing.

People with these cysts may have family members who also have them.

These cysts are more common in adults than in children.

Sometimes, epidermal cysts are called sebaceous cysts. This is not correct because the contents of the two types of cysts are different. Epidermal cysts are filled with dead skin cells, while true sebaceous cysts are filled with yellowish oily material. (A true sebaceous cyst is called a steatocystoma.)

What are the symptoms of Epidermoid Cyst?

The main symptom is usually a small, non-painful lump beneath the skin. The lump is usually found on the face, neck, and trunk. It will often have a tiny hole or pit in the center. It usually grows slowly and is not painful.

If the lump becomes infected or inflamed, other symptoms may include:

  • Skin redness
  • Tender or sore skin
  • Warm skin in the affected area
  • Grayish-white, cheesy, foul-smelling material that drains from the cyst
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What are the current treatments for Epidermoid Cyst?

Epidermal cysts are not dangerous and do not need to be treated unless they cause symptoms or show signs of inflammation (redness or tenderness). If this occurs, your provider may suggest home care by placing a warm moist cloth (compress) over the area to help the cyst drain and heal.

A cyst may need further treatment if it becomes:

  • Inflamed and swollen -- the provider may inject the cyst with steroid medicine
  • Swollen, tender, or large -- the provider may drain the cyst or do surgery to remove it
  • Infected -- you may be prescribed antibiotics to take by mouth
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What are the possible complications of Epidermoid Cyst?

Cysts may become infected and form painful abscesses.

Cysts may return if they are not completely removed by surgery.

When should I contact a medical professional for Epidermoid Cyst?

Call your provider if you notice any new growths in your body. Although cysts are not harmful, your provider should examine you for signs of skin cancer. Some skin cancers look like cystic nodules, so have any new lump examined by your provider. If you do have a cyst, call your provider if it becomes red or painful.

What are the latest Epidermoid Cyst Clinical Trials?
A Prospective Clinical Trial Evaluating the Efficacy of 1.5% Sodium Tetradecyl Sulfate Foam Injection for the Treatment of Epidermoid Cysts

Summary: The objective of this study is to determine the efficacy, safety, tolerability, and patient satisfaction associated with the treatment of epidermoid cysts with injected 1.5% sodium tetradecyl sulfate (STS) foam.

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Computer Aided Tool for Diagnosis of Neck Masses in Children

Summary: The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic efficacy of computer aided diagnostic tool for neck masses using machine learning and deep learning techniques on clinical information and radiological images in children.

What are the Latest Advances for Epidermoid Cyst?
Modified Keystone Perforator Island Flap for Tension-Reducing Coverage of Axillary Defects Secondary to Radical Excision of Chronic Inflammatory Skin Lesions: A Retrospective Case Series.
Use of the O-Z Flap to Repair Scalp Defects After Cancer Tumor Resection.
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Analysis of OCRL gene variant in a Chinese pedigree affected with Lowe syndrome.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: April 14, 2021
Published By: Elika Hoss, MD, Senior Associate Consultant, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Dinulos JGH. Benign skin tumors. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 20.

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Epidermal nevi, neoplasms, and cysts. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 29.

Patterson JW. Cysts, sinuses, and pits. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Limited; 2021:chap 17.