Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Cysts that don't cause cosmetic or functional problems are usually left alone. A cyst that's inflamed, ruptured or infected may be treated with:

  • Injections. Your doctor may inject an inflamed, but uninfected, epidermoid cyst with a corticosteroid or triamcinolone acetonide (Kenalog) to help reduce inflammation.
  • Incision and drainage. In this procedure, your doctor makes a small cut in the cyst and expresses the contents. Although incision and drainage is relatively quick and easy, cysts often recur after this treatment.
  • Total excision. This surgical technique removes the entire cyst and so prevents recurrence. Excision is most effective when the cyst isn't inflamed. Your doctor may recommend first treating the inflammation with antibiotics, steroids, or incision and drainage and then waiting to perform excision for four to six weeks after inflammation resolves. Total excision requires sutures. Your doctor will remove sutures in your face within a week or so of total cyst excision, and will remove sutures elsewhere in your body within one to two weeks.
  • Minimal excision. Some doctors prefer this technique because it removes the whole cyst wall but causes minimal, if any, scarring. During the procedure, your doctor makes a tiny incision in the cyst, expresses the contents, and then removes the cyst wall through the incision. The small wound is usually left to heal naturally.
  • Lasers. To minimize scarring, your doctor may use a carbon dioxide laser to vaporize an epidermoid cyst on your face or other sensitive area.
Jun. 07, 2011