If You Have a Sebaceous Cyst, Have it Removed NOW

September 19, 2012 at 5:37 PM 27 comments

I am going through an unbelievable experience with a sebaceous cyst.   I had no idea such a harmless-looking thing could blow up into a major medical problem.

(Image via TurboSquid.com)

I’ve had the darn thing, on the inside of my left knee, for probably 15 years.  It very slowly grew from the size of a lentil to the size of a marble but it otherwise didn’t bother me and it wasn’t in a very visible area so I just blew it off.

I had skin cancer about ten years ago so I go to the dermatologist once a year and though my doctor would always note the cyst, she didn’t push me to have it removed.

Then, on May 24, the Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend, I noticed some redness around the base of the cyst.  Friday it was worse so I called my dermatologist for an appointment which I made for the following Tuesday at 8:00 a.m.

On Sunday the redness extended out several inches and down my leg about six inches in a wide oval.  I called my doctor’s office because as that point, I was scared and didn’t think I could make it to Tuesday morning.

The doctor who was on call told me to go to the office and she would meet me there (so sweet), which I did.  Despite dropping everything while working in her garden, and reeking of manure, she took one look at the site and said oh, yeah.  Good thing you came in. You wouldn’t have made it to Tuesday.  Then she shot me up with some steroids, gave me a prescription for antibiotics and told me to come back for that already-scheduled Tuesday morning appointment.

So I went back and my regular doctor lanced the cyst, told me to push on it several times a day to drain it, and said I could come back in a week.

When I asked what made the thing suddenly erupt, she said the cyst probably burst internally and then my body attacked the contents thinking it was foreign matter.

So to make a long story short, ever since the end of May I have been seeing the doctor roughly every ten days and nursing the thing while waiting for the infection to go away completely and for the whole area to calm down.

Fast forward to August 30.  I went in for minor surgery to have the cyst removed.  All seemed to go well though my doctor was concerned about getting it all because it seemed to have multiple “sacks” instead of a nice neat one.  But, she sewed me up and I made an appointment for last Tuesday, September 11, to have the stitches removed.

Everything looked good to my (untrained) eye but after the stitches were out, a little hole, about the diameter of a medium-sized nail (the size you’d use to hang picture on the wall) remained.  My doctor said it looked like the thing still wanted to be a cyst.  She said might not have gotten all of it out.  She said even if one cyst cell remains, it’ll turn into a cyst again.

Oy.

So she put this fake skin-like bandage over it and a pressure bandage on top of that and told me to come back in seven days.

I was supposed to change the fake skin in the middle of those seven days so on Friday morning I unpacked the area and just about fell out of my chair.  The hole was the size of a pencil eraser and it was bleeding a watery blood.

I didn’t want to go into the weekend with it like that so I made an emergency appointment and went in that afternoon.  My regular doc wasn’t there so I saw someone else who recommended we leave the hole alone and essentially let it close from the bottom of the hole up.

Fine.  She covered it with more of that fake-skin bandage and told me to come back in five days, i.e. today, to see my regular doc.

At today’s appointment my doc noticed that the rim of the hole was turning inside, meaning it was healing around the edges instead of reaching across the hole, so to speak, and closing up.  She looked around, pulling the hole every which way (it’s getting pretty gross by now as you can imagine) and said she saw the edge of some sack material (it has the texture of skin but it is pure white) so she numbed the area and slid a scalpel under the skin around the edges of the hole and pulled more sack tissue out.  She also cut around the rim of the hole to create a raw edge hoping, again, that the hole would close up instead of turning under.  Then she filled the hole with some antibiotic cream, covered it over and told me to come back on Monday.

(They gave me six days worth of antibiotic tablets somewhere along the line in case it gets infected.)

Today my doctor said I might have to GO TO THE HOSPITAL and have an operation where they open the whole area — approximately two inches in diameter around the site — to get every last bit of cyst tissue.

This is crazy!  I had no idea a little ol’ cyst could cause this much trouble!

Bottom line: If you have a cyst, have it removed immediately.  You don’t want this to happen to you. It isn’t worth it.

Geez.  If I’d only known.

Aaaaahhhhhhh.

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27 Comments Add your own

  • 1. thingsmybellylikes  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Oh yuck, that sounds heinous :( Hope it clears up without
    the need for a hospital stay.
    Your tale of woe has got me checking every lump on my body, I think we’re all probably guilty of taking our skin health for granted. Get well soon!

  • 2. Say It Ain't So Already  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Why thanks. Yeah, be aware of your skin and what’s going on underneath. (This applies to pets too. Check them for lumps.)

  • 3. Paul Day  |  September 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Jesus! That’s just…wow…

  • 4. Sue  |  May 2, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    I just found this since i have a Sebaceous cyst. It appeared after a dog had bite had healed. I am having it removed in a about 10 days since it has become painful and the color has changed. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • 5. Say It Ain't So Already  |  May 2, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Good you’re having it removed!

  • 6. Stephanie B  |  June 3, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    I know the feeling. I have a sebaceous cyst in the back of my right knee and had it since birth. The last 4 years ive had it get inflammed and self abrupt 3 times and ir has moved across my joint line. Im finally having it removed on 12th june so fingers crossed they get it all bevause when it gets infected, i struggle to walk and am in agony for 2-3 weeks when it abrupts

  • 7. Say It Ain't So Already  |  June 3, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Oh, geez. And I thought I had it bad. Good luck on the 12th! I hope everything goes well and that you’re going to (finally) be free of that thing once and for all. Amazing how something so relatively small can cause so much pain and trouble.

  • 8. Jag  |  June 12, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    too late for me man.. had i read this earlier i wouldnt be fudged up right now..
    i have it in my chest n from pea sized it suddenly blew up..now i have a hole 2cm in diameter, just 2nd day of getting it bandaged n its damn painful..
    get it removed asap..only if that idiot doc had told me in first place…

  • 9. Say It Ain't So Already  |  June 12, 2013 at 7:10 AM

    Hey, I hear you. As I said, I had mine for years and the doc never told me what could happen. I’d have had it removed long ago had I known. Geezus.

  • 10. 3snugglebugs  |  June 25, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    I just saw my dr today for one that’s gotten infected. I was really surprised she told me to hot compress it & pop it at home! I’m kinda nervous about that. But because she also said I have strep, I’m on antibiotics now; hopefully that helps.

  • 11. Say It Ain't So Already  |  June 25, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Good luck!

  • 12. Steve Hilfiker  |  August 18, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    I have had a cyst on my back for about three years. It was about the size of a dime, perhaps a bit smaller, and the shape of a large contact lens on my back. It ruptured internally yesterday, and is now about the size of a quarter and the area is all red and is quite sore. After reading this information, it sounds like I need to have it removed. I am traveling in four days to a close friends funeral and wont be back for 8 days. How soon does this need to be removed?

  • 13. Say It Ain't So Already  |  August 19, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Mine ruptured on a Thursday and by Sunday the redness was about 6″ in diameter. When I got to the dermatologist’s office that afternoon, she was quite alarmed and said I couldn’t have waited another day. So, if my experience is typical, you should probably have it done asap.

  • 14. ML1999  |  August 19, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    Why didn’t the damn doctor sew the damn hole up? When I had my cyst removed, he sewed it up.

  • 15. colleen  |  October 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    oh my goodness….I know this is an older post but I’m very concerned reading this. I have 7 of these pesky cysts. 5 on my legs, 1 on my arm, and one on my stomach. My doctor keeps saying they are absolutely harmless but I’m starting to believe (especially after finding this) that they need to go. I had a 4.2 cm tumor in my breast which by the grace of god was benign but since then these cysts have started popping up all over my body.

  • 16. Say It Ain't So Already  |  October 11, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    I haven’t read that post in a while but I’m pretty sure I included in it that my doctor said they were harmless too. Thing is…yes, they’re harmless but either I should have asked whether they can do anything other than sit there or the doctor should have told me about the possibility of the rupture which she didn’t do. It isn’t worth it to gamble and wait to see if they rupture (or not). If they do rupture, removing them is so much more difficult, time consuming and expensive, and in my opinion, I would never take that chance again. It isn’t worth it.

  • 17. Brad  |  October 17, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Hey what’s up man? I had A cyst on my left hip for a couple of years now, first it was like the size of a pimpel, now it’s the size of a lime or grapefruit. The only thing is no pus fluid is in there, rather it’s dark fluid in the sac, which I know it’s blood. So they’ve open it up a little and letting me drain it myself and I’m having surgery tommorow to get it all removed(or if they can’t remove it all, take part of it and do a biospy).

    The question I want to ask is how was the surgery to remove it? Is it scary? And did it hurt?

  • 18. Say It Ain't So Already  |  October 17, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    It hurt like hell but mine wasn’t near as big as yours so I would imagine they’ll make sure you aren’t in any pain. With me, since the “sack” had burst, they basically had to go in and dig it (the walls of the sack) and the contents out.

  • 19. Brad  |  October 17, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Yeah, they said they’re going to do local anastisa(sp?) on it, which the numbing shot doesn’t hurt that bad at all. I’m just concerend that how they’re going to remove the sac(since it’s on my hip area) and would I feel the needle and the moving of it.

  • 20. Say It Ain't So Already  |  October 17, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    My main thought when I was going through this was to get it freakin’ over with so I could start the healing process and be done with it once and for all.

  • 21. Brad  |  October 17, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Yeah, that’s the way I felt when I first went to the clinic to get it removed until they said no pus was coming out at all and I would had to get it removed. That kind of freaked me out a little, plus the fact that I have a open incesion already for them to drain it made me scared.

    But I have to suck it up because I DO want this to be removed. Plus the doctor who is doing the surgery is this fine women with a nice body, so it can’t be too bad right?

  • 22. Say It Ain't So Already  |  October 17, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Whatever. Let us know how it goes. We wish you the best.

  • 23. Brad  |  October 17, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    Thank you Ma’am, I will let you know after it’s done. One More question, did you feel any tugging while getting it removed?

  • 24. Say It Ain't So Already  |  October 17, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Yes. Lots.

  • 25. Brad  |  October 21, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Hey, sorry for the late reply.

    So I went on Friday and they just took 2 samples of it and they’re doing an biopsy to see what it is. They actually wanted to take the whole thing out but they think there is nerves around it. Now I have to wait to November 1st and Hopefully they can take the whole thing out that day.

    Also, the shots really didn’t hurt that much.

  • 26. Say It Ain't So Already  |  October 22, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Did you get the results of the biopsy yet?

  • 27. Brad  |  October 31, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Hey Ma’m, sorry it took so long for the reply. I’m going tomorrow to get the results, and hopefully they’ll remove it that day. I Forgot to mention that one of the doctors said that it could be an possibility for to just keep it as is not harmful. But hopefully I just get it removed, I’m not scared of getting the shot anymore.

    Also to let some of you readers who have the same problem and have a exposed wound during the waiting process like me, DO NOT buy any gauge pads. As I found out weather you change your pads one time a day or two times a day, the gauge pads will stick to your wound and not only will it be painful when you remove it, you would bleed like crazy and have to use up most of your gauge pads to stop the bleeding. I recommend Non-Stick pads. They really don’t stick and it doesn’t hurt to take it off. A real life saver for me.

    Well, let you know tomorrow about what happens and hopefully it’s good news.

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