Treatment for Sebaceous Cysts
As noted on the previous page, sebaceous cysts do not usually disappear by themselves. Although they may stay the same size once identified, they will usually increase in size although usually. Sebaceous cyst do not usually need to be removed for medical reasons, but patients often want them removed for several reasons - firstly to check they are in fact sebaceous cysts and not some other lump, secondly because they are not attractive and 30 they can become too large or get infected.
If a sebaceous cyst has been left too long, and the cyst itself has become infected, it may become very difficult to remove due to scar tissue.
Traditionally it is been taught that the sebaceous cyst must be removed whole, to make sure that no wall is left and it cannot come back. More modern methods now empty the cyst first of the contents and then remove the wall. It is essential to move the whole of the wall to prevent the cyst coming back again but by doing it this way, scars can be kept to a minimum.
Removal of sebaceous cysts can be performed either by traditional surgical excision (although with new techniques the scar is much smaller than it used to be) or the new advanced electrolysis method for smaller sebaceous cysts which is less expensive and heals virtually without a scar
Advanced Electrolysis for removing sebaceous cysts
Advanced Electrolysis is a treatment for sebaceous cysts that works exceptionally in small sebaceous cysts, particularly if in cosmetically sensitive areas such as on the face. Advanced Electrolysis using and electrolysis machine and a fine hair like needle. The needle is placed into the sebaceous cyst and a current is passed through the needle into the skin. This breaks down the sebaceous cyst, releasing the contents and destroying the wall. Once the contents have been released, and the cyst wall has been destroyed by the electric current, the body will naturally ingest the remaining tissue and the cyst will reduce or disappear. If it does not completely disappear, a second or third treatment may be necessary.
The number of treatments a cyst requires depends on several factors including the size of the cyst, whether it has been infected before and therefore the thickness of the wall as well has the position on the body. Of course different people heal at different rates as well. All patients need to leave at least one month in between each treatment to make sure we can see how much of the cyst has been treated and is going to disappear.
Advanced Electrolysis treatment is not entirely pain free and has been likened to a bee sting or a feeling of pin pricks during treatment. However any discomfort will subside immediately after the treatment. As with any procedure, it is important to keep the area clean and to follow after care advice.
After treatment, the skin will look red due to inflammation. This is the process of the body "eating" away the treated tissue. The area must not be touched. It should be kept clean and it is advisable not to wear make-up for at least 24-48 hours after the treatment. A crust over the cyst may appear which should not be picked but left to fall off in its own time to prevent scarring.
Contraindications to Advanced Electrolysis
As with all medical procedures, there are contraindications and the treatment is not necessarily suitable for everybody. For instance we do not perform advanced electrolysis on people who are pregnant nor on people with pacemakers. Also sometimes the cyst itself is too large or too scarred for advanced electrolysis. Fortunately, at Absolute Aesthetics, we also have an operating theatre with skilled cosmetic doctors who can remove sebaceous cysts with minimal scarring using excision if advanced electrolysis is not appropriate.
All patients have a full consultation where details of medical history and medications are discussed to identify whether the treatment is appropriate or not.
Surgical Excision of sebaceous cysts using minimal scar technique
The traditional method of removing sebaceous cysts is to exercise the cyst completely. This traditional surgical incision is performed under local anaesthetic, a small elipse of skin is cut to which the sebaceous cyst is attached. As this section or skin is gently pulled, the full cyst is carefully freed from the surrounding tissue. Once the whole cyst has been removed, the skin is stitched together.
Although this is a very successful method of treating sebaceous cysts, it leaves quite a large scar as the cyst has to be removed in its entirety.
The minimal scar technique of moving sebaceous cysts as practised at Absolute Aesthetics get around this problem. Although the sebaceous cyst is still removed, by emptying it first the scar is much smaller (see pictures).
The area once again the area is clean and and the tissue immediately surrounding the sebaceous cyst is injected with a local anaesthetic. this means that no pain will be felt although the patient can often feel a little bit of movement of the instruments on the skin. The cyst is incised and the contents squeezed out leaving the empty wall of the cyst. This can then be removed entirely through much smaller incision. One, two or sometimes three cosmetic stitches are then placed in the skin to hold it together.
The stitches remain in place for two or three days on the face and then up to 14 days, depending where on the body the cyst has been removed from. Your doctor at Absolute Aesthetics will advise you on this.
Which technique should I choose?
The advantages of advanced electrolysis is that it is less expensive, does not need stitches and leaves no scar in the majority of cases. However the disadvantage is that it cannot be used in large sebaceous cysts or cysts that have become recurrently infected. Also it may take more than one treatment session.
The advantages of surgical excision is that the cyst is treated in one session and any size of cysts can be treated - even cysts that are currently infected or have severe scarring. With the new techniques the surgical scars are smaller but they still usually need a minimum of one stitch and sometimes more. As it is performed by a cosmetic doctor in an operating theatre surgical excision it is more expensive. However if there is any suspicion that the lump might not be sebaceous cysts, excision is required so the lump can be sent off for histological laboratory examination.
As both of these techniques are available at Absolute Aesthetics, we will being to advise you which is better for your individual cyst.
To find out more, or to book an appointment, please contact us.