Sebaceous cyst

What is sebaceous cyst?

It is a benign skin cyst, containing soft cheese like material, below the skin. Sebaceous cysts usually grow on the face, ear, neck, and back. It ranges from few mm to few cm. When it becomes bigger, it may raise, rupture with pasty white discharge, or become infected with pus collection or pus discharge.


It is usually associate with blocked excretion duct of the hair follicle or after skin piercing. 


It is pain free initially.  Sebaceous cysts grow in size with time  It may be infected with abscess formation and pus discharge.  It may induce necrotizing fasciitis and significant morbidity or even mortality.


Symptomatic sebaceous cyst should be treated with surgical excision. If there is infection, abscess formation, or pus discharge, the treatment choice is incision and drainage of pus, excision of abscess wall, and delay closure of wound.


Q:  Is sebaceous cyst cancer?
A:  No. Most of the sebaceous cyst are benign. Rarely, there is skin cancer found in the sebaceous cyst.

Q:  Is it necessary to remove all sebaceous cysts?
A:  You should consider surgery if you have sebaceous cyst.  Infection, abscess formation, and pus discharge may complicate the disease and take long time to cure.

Q.  How to differentiate skin polyp and sebaceous cyst?

  Skin polyps Sebaceous cyst
Shape Irregular pedunculated skin nodules Roundish nodule below skin surface
Discharge No discharge upon compression May have some white discharge upon pressure