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Cyst Removal In St. Louis

Close-up image of cyst on back.

Epidermoid cysts, commonly called sebaceous cysts, are non-cancerous growths that develop under the skin in St. Louis and surrounding areas. These cysts often form when skin cells move deeper into the skin instead of shedding off naturally. Epidermoid cysts can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, neck, back, and genital regions. While generally harmless, these cysts can become inflamed or infected, leading to discomfort, pain, and the need for treatment.

Our dermatologists at Mid-County Dermatology in St. Louis offers several treatment options for epidermoid cysts. Drainage or corticosteroid injections may provide relief for some cysts. For persistent or problematic cysts, however, surgical removal is often recommended. Our experienced dermatological surgeons perform safe, effective epidermoid cyst removal procedures tailored to each patient's needs.

Understanding the causes, symptoms, and proper treatment of epidermoid cysts in St. Louis is essential. Whether your cyst causes pain, becomes infected, or is simply a cosmetic concern, the dermatology experts at Mid-County Dermatology have solutions. Schedule an appointment today to discuss epidermoid cyst treatment.

Epidermoid Cyst: Definition and Overview

What are epidermoid cysts?

Epidermoid cysts, also called sebaceous cysts, are non-cancerous lumps that form under the skin and are filled with dead skin cells (keratin material). These cysts commonly occur on the face, neck, and trunk.

Identifying Characteristics of Epidermoid Cysts

Epidermoid cysts are characterized by their slow growth rate and typically painless nature. They often appear as small bumps under the skin's surface.

When is epidermoid cyst removal necessary?

In some cases, removal of an epidermoid cyst may be necessary if it becomes infected, inflamed, or causes discomfort. Surgical excision is a common method for removing these cysts at Mid-County Dermatology.

Epidemiology and Incidence Rates of Epidermoid Cysts 

How common are epidermoid cysts in the general population?

Epidermoid cysts are common in St. Louis, accounting for around 1% of all skin tumors. They are more prevalent in young to middle-aged adults.

Age and Gender Differences in Epidermoid Cyst Rates

Incidence rates of epidermoid cysts in St. Louis tend to peak in individuals aged 30 to 40, but they can occur at any age. There is a slight predilection for males over females.

High-Risk Demographic Groups for Developing Epidermoid Cysts

Certain demographic groups, such as individuals with a history of acne or skin trauma, are more prone to developing epidermoid cysts. Those with a family history of these cysts may have an increased risk.

Common Epidermoid Cyst Locations and Characteristics 

Where do epidermoid cysts commonly appear?

Epidermoid cysts can appear on the trunk, face, neck, and genital area. These cysts typically develop from hair follicles.

Key Characteristics of Epidermoid Cysts

The cysts contain keratin, a protein found in skin cells. They are often small, round bumps that move freely under the skin when touched.

Connection Between Epidermoid Cysts and Blackheads

A tiny blackhead, known as the central punctum, may be visible on the surface of these cysts. This dark spot is due to oxidized debris trapped within the cyst.

Causes and Risk Factors for Developing Epidermoid Cysts

How do epidermoid cysts form?

Epidermoid cysts develop when skin cells move deeper into the skin instead of shedding normally on the surface. This abnormal cell migration leads to the formation of a sac filled with keratin, a protein found in skin, hair, and nails. Irritation or injury to the skin or hair follicle can also trigger the development of epidermoid cysts.

Risk Factors for Epidermoid Cyst Development

  • Age: Epidermoid cysts are more common in adults than in children.

  • Gender: Men tend to develop these cysts more frequently than women.

  • Personal History: Individuals with acne may have a higher risk.

  • Genetic Syndromes: Having Gardner syndrome, an inherited condition characterized by the growth of extra tissue, increases the risk of developing epidermoid cysts. People with this syndrome have a higher predisposition to developing multiple cysts.

  • Sun Exposure: Chronic exposure to sunlight can contribute to the development of epidermoid cysts on sun-exposed areas like the face.

Symptoms of Epidermoid Cysts

Signs of a Cutaneous Epidermoid Cyst

Epidermoid cysts often manifest as cutaneous lesions on the skin, appearing as small bumps or lumps that are usually painless. These lesions can be felt under the skin and may vary in size.

Thick, Odorous Substance Discharge

One distinctive symptom of an epidermoid cyst is the presence of a thick, smelly substance that can be expelled from the cyst when squeezed. This substance is a combination of keratin and sebum, giving it a characteristic odor.

Inflamed or Infected Epidermoid Cyst Bumps

An inflamed or infected bump on the skin can indicate an epidermoid cyst. When the cyst becomes inflamed, it may cause redness, tenderness, and pain in the affected area.

When to See a Dermatologist for Epidermoid Cysts

Rapidly Growing Epidermoid Cyst

If you notice your epidermoid cyst in St. Louis is rapidly growing in size, it is crucial to consult a dermatologist at Mid-County Dermatology promptly. This could indicate an underlying issue that needs medical attention.

Signs of Epidermoid Cyst Infection

An infected epidermoid cyst can lead to complications and require immediate treatment. Seeking medical advice from Mid-County Dermatology is essential if you suspect an infection, such as redness or warmth around the cyst.

Bothersome Cyst Location

When an epidermoid cyst develops in a bothersome location, like on the face or genital area, consulting a dermatologist at Mid-County Dermatology is advisable. We can discuss appropriate management options.

Painful or Uncomfortable Epidermoid Cyst

Experiencing pain or discomfort from an epidermoid cyst should prompt a visit to a dermatologist. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to further complications.

Differential Diagnosis: What Could Mimic an Epidermoid Cyst?

While epidermoid cysts are common growths under the skin, they can sometimes be mistaken for other conditions. Some of the main differential diagnoses include:


Lipomas are fatty lumps that grow between the skin and muscle. Unlike epidermoid cysts, lipomas:

  • Are usually soft and easily movable

  • Don't have a punctum/drainage point

  • Lack the keratin contents of epidermoid cysts

Pilar Cysts

Pilar cysts form from obstructed hair follicles. The differences include:

  • Pilar cysts have a smooth, firm texture without punctum

  • They commonly occur on the scalp

  • Don't contain the keratin material found in epidermoid cysts

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

This chronic inflammatory skin condition can cause painful lesions that simulate epidermoid cysts.

Treatment and Management of Epidermoid Cysts in St. Louis

Home Care and Prevention

The first line of management for epidermoid cysts in St. Louis involves home care and prevention measures:

  • Keep the area clean and dry

  • Avoid manipulating or squeezing the cyst

  • Apply warm compresses for discomfort/drainage

  • Practice good hygiene and minimize skin trauma

  • Limit excessive sweating and sun exposure

Non-Surgical Options

If an epidermoid cyst becomes infected, inflamed, or bothersome, the dermatologists at Mid-County Dermatology may recommend:

  • Antibiotics to clear infection

  • Anti-inflammatory medications for swelling/pain

  • Watchful waiting for asymptomatic cysts

When is Surgical Removal Necessary?

Surgical excision is frequently advised for epidermoid cysts that are large, persistently painful/inflamed, persistently draining, or cosmetically concerning. The dermatological surgeons at Mid-County Dermatology are highly skilled in removing these cysts safely and effectively.

The cyst excision procedure involves:

  • Administration of local anesthetic

  • Surgical incision over the cyst

  • Careful removal of the entire cyst sac

  • Closure of the incision with stitches

Excision prevents recurrence and allows for definitive pathology testing.

Personalized Treatment Plan

It's crucial to consult the experts at Mid-County Dermatology for tailored epidermoid cyst treatment based on size, location, symptoms, and risk factors. Proper evaluation ensures the optimal management approach.

Your Guide to Effectively Managing Epidermoid Cysts in St. Louis

You now have a comprehensive understanding of epidermoid cysts in St. Louis - from their definition and common presentations to causes, symptoms, and advanced treatment options available at Mid-County Dermatology.

By recognizing the signs of an epidermoid cyst early and seeking prompt medical advice from our dermatologists, you can effectively manage these growths and prevent potential complications like infection or persistent drainage.

Whether through conservative measures like warm compresses or advanced surgical excision, you can find the right epidermoid cyst treatment plan in St. Louis by partnering with our experienced dermatology team. Schedule your consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are epidermoid cysts?

Epidermoid cysts are non-cancerous growths that develop beneath the skin. They are filled with keratin, a protein found in hair and nails.

How do I recognize symptoms of epidermoid cysts?

Symptoms of epidermoid cysts include a small, round bump under the skin that is usually painless. The bump may grow slowly over time and can be accompanied by redness or tenderness.

When should I consult a dermatologist about an epidermoid cyst?

You should consult a dermatologist if you notice any changes in the size, shape, or color of the cyst, experience pain or discomfort, or if the cyst becomes infected.

What are some common locations for epidermoid cysts to develop?

Epidermoid cysts commonly occur on the face, neck, back, and genitals. However, they can develop anywhere on the body where there are hair follicles.

How are epidermoid cysts treated and managed?

Treatment for epidermoid cysts may involve draining the fluid through a small incision or surgical removal. Proper management includes keeping the area clean to prevent infection and avoiding squeezing or puncturing the cyst.

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