Abstract Two cases are presented where an incorrect diagnosis of a sebaceous cyst delayed the treatment of a more serious underlying problem. The history and examination findings pointed to the diagnosis in both cases. Although not rare entities in themselves, these cases illustrate the importance of formulating a differential diagnosis even when confronted with an apparently straightforward condition. He presented to accident and emergency with a painful, discharging lump on the back. A diagnosis of an acutely infected sebaceous cyst was made by the on-call general surgical team.
Sebaceous cyst: Removal, infections, and treatment
A sebaceous cyst is a small lump or bump under the skin. This type of cyst is not cancerous. They are most often found on the face, neck, upper back, and upper chest, but can occur on other sites of the body as well. Usually a sebaceous cyst grows very slowly and doesn't cause pain. However, they can become inflamed or infected, with the overlying skin becoming red, tender, and sore. Sometimes, they occur on a site that is constantly irritated, such as a cyst on your neck that rubs against your collar.
Treatment While skin cysts can look bad, doing anything to them can make them worse. Picking, rubbing, or squeezing cysts is likely to cause damage and make any infection worse. It is also likely to increase the pain and worsen its appearance.
Epidermoid cyst Epidermoid cysts occur most often on your face, neck and trunk. Epidermoid ep-ih-DUR-moid cysts are noncancerous small bumps beneath the skin. They can appear anywhere on the skin, but are most common on the face, neck and trunk. Epidermoid cysts are slow growing and often painless, so they rarely cause problems or need treatment. You might choose to have a cyst removed by a doctor if its appearance bothers you or if it's painful, ruptured or infected.