General Surgical Procedures

General Surgical Procedures

Sebaceous Cysts

What are skin cysts/sebaceous cysts?

Sebaceous cysts or skin cysts, are mobile bumps lying just under the skin.  They are harmless and usually painless, and can be caused by a blocked sebaceous gland OR blocked follicle.

They do not become anything sinister, but they can get infected and cause abscesses. 


What is the treatment for sebaceous cysts?

They can be left alone, as the majority will not ever cause a problem.  If they have become infected, and caused an abscess, it would be sensible to have it removed, to prevent this happening again.

I can often remove theses cysts while you are awake, by numbing the skin with local anaesthetic.  This would be done as a day case, and normally I would put dissolvable stitches in, to close the skin.


You should be able to return to normal activity straight after the procedure



 What are lipomas?

 Lipomas are soft mobile lumps that lie under the skin.  They are caused by an overgrowth of fat cells.  They normally grow very slowly, if at all, and usually don’t cause any problems.  They are not painful.


Do I need a scan to tell exactly what it is?

Most lipomas are obvious to a doctor and do not need a scan.  However, if the lump is over a certain size, or there are any other worrying features, then I would request an MRI (magnetic scan) of the area, to rule out any sinister problem.  


What is the treatment of a lipoma?

If it is not causing any problems, it is safe to leave it alone.  If you are worried about a sudden increase in growth, or pain within the lump, then it is sensible to see your GP and get a referral to a specialist.

If you are counselled towards treatment, they can usually be removed while you are awake under a local anaesthetic.  Any larger lumps, may have to be removed under a general anaesthetic.

You should be able to return to normal activity within 7-14 days, depending on your type of work, and the size and site of the lipoma.