Cysts Dermatologist2019-02-06T16:45:24+00:00

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Cysts are round lumps arising under the skin. They can be anywhere between pea-sized to several centimetres in diameter.

IN THESE VIDEOS, I EXPLAIN THE SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES OF CYSTS – AND HOW TO TREAT THEM

In the videos above, I explain things in a simple way that applies to most people who have cysts. Of course, no video or website can replace the value of a personalised consultation. At your consultation, you can have your skin carefully examined and get an expert recommendation to help you resolve your condition.

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Treatment helps people of all ages take control of their skin condition and get their life back.

CALL 0118 373 5198
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How do cysts impact people on a day-by-day basis?

CYSTS CAN BE UNSIGHTLY AND EVEN PAINFUL AT TIMES

Cysts are round lumps arising under the skin

They are common and can be anywhere between pea-sized to several centimetres in diameter. I typically find epidermoid cysts on the face, torso and limbs, and pilar cysts on the scalp.

Cysts can be unpleasant in more ways than one

Both epidermoid and pilar cysts contain keratin, a semi-fluid white-cheesy substance that is formed by the lining of the cyst. Epidermoid cysts have a small central opening, or punctum, and can sometimes discharge fluid, which can be malodorous.

Cysts can cause discomfort

Pilar cysts, mostly found on the scalp, do not have a central punctum. Therefore, they will not discharge material but often get caught on combs and brushes and can be uncomfortable or a source of concern.

Some cysts can be more troublesome than others

They usually grow slowly if at all, but sometimes can get inflamed, red and painful, and can rupture.

If necessary, I can remove your cyst

The vast majority of cysts are benign and therefore can be left alone if they are not causing any symptoms or cosmetic concern. If cysts get repeatedly inflamed, painful, or symptomatic, the best option is excision (removal), in a way that minimises scarring.

What my patients love about my service

MY PATIENTS ARE MY BEST PROMOTERS

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou for her assessment on my continued taking of roaccutane.

She was completely right, I didn’t need a new course, I needed to move away from the drug. The creams she gave me and Cetaphil recommendation have meant my skin has been the best it’s ever been (ongoing and since I saw her) ALL SUMMER :))))) I’ve had zero problems…and I’m loving it.

Thank you once again.


Phillip, Acne

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

Following the consultation today I feel it appropriate to say thank you for your help in dealing with my rosacea.

On each occasion, I have visited your department I have noticed the kindness and cheeriness of all the staff I have encountered and particularly wanted to say that you made me feel at ease with your calmness and excellent manner.

All is much appreciated.”


Anne, Rosacea

“Thank you very much!!

You three were (and are) a great team!

I will remember you.

You made me feel comfortable.”


Ellie

“Tania,

Please pass to Dr Pratsou my thanks for her skilled work.

The wound is healing beautifully and now the stitches are out it looks as though it will be almost invisible once fully healed.”


Graham, Skin cancer removal

“Dear Dr Penelope, Rena & the team, (I can’t remember the nurse’s name who helped me during my 2 procedures at the Spire!)

I wanted to thank you for your support and help during a very difficult time. You guys do a wonderful job – and we are eternally grateful for your help.”


Clarissa, Skin cancer

“I would like to put on record how impressed I was with the operation you performed for the removal of the SCC on my neck. I cannot even see where the cut or the stitches were! I am indeed very grateful for the excellent work you do.”


Harry, Squamous Cell Carcinoma

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

I am very grateful to you for your diagnosis, recommended treatment and advice. Your letter to my GP sets out both the course of events, and your own analysis of probable condition and possible cause, clearly summarising our discussion.

I hope there will be no recurrence but I will certainly come back to you if there is.”


Ryan, Skin rash

“Dear Tania,

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou. I saw her this morning for a mole check. She was so lovely and reassuring. Please also thank the two nurses who assisted her during the mole removal procedure. I was very nervous, but they were very efficient, which meant I did not have too long to think about it, but most of all they were very kind. They kept me distracted and calm, which made a huge difference. Thank you also for your efficiency in both booking me in so quickly.”


James, Mole removal
Dear Ms. Pratsou,

I am writing to thank you for the care you have given me in the past few months. From the moment I walked into your consulting room with a lesion on my cheek, a lesion that I fully expected to be some sort of skin cancer (and it was), you have been thorough, reassuring, respectful and in every way professional.

You recognised that I had some insight into the condition of my skin and the procedures required to treat me. You listened to me. You projected expertise and compassion.

During the procedure to remove the growth you ensured that the atmosphere in the treatment room remained not only calm, but actually pleasant. Had it not been that you were excising a growth and sewing me up, I almost felt as if you, me and the nurse were at some sort of women’s discussion group. The time flew by. I had zero anxieties about the procedure and as we both know now, the wound healed flawlessly.

Thank you for your expertise and your communication skills and all round good nature. I feel very lucky.


Karen Tatom, Skin cancer removal

We have replaced the images and names of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.

The first step to feeling in charge of your skin is to book an initial consultation

FIND OUT HOW TO GET THE SKIN YOU WANT

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BOOK A CONSULTATION

How it works

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN IN 3 EASY STEPS

STEP 1 – CALL US
STEP 2 – LET’S MEET
STEP 3 – RESOLUTION
CONTACT MY STAFF

Give us a call on 0118 373 5198 and we’ll help guide you towards a first appointment.

MEET WITH ME

I’ll see you and examine your skin before I recommend treatment. In some cases, I can begin treating your condition on the same day.

FEEL IN CHARGE OF YOUR SKIN

I’ll guide you down the road towards a resolution of your skin condition so that you can get back to normal life.

More information about cysts

FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE DETAILS

There are different kinds of cysts, categorised into different types according to where they originate from.

The two most common types of cysts I see are epidermoid (otherwise known as sebaceous) cysts and pilar cysts.

These cysts may cause no symptoms or can become inflamed and painful.

Cysts are round lumps arising under the skin. They can be anywhere between pea-sized to several centimetres in diameter.

We typically find epidermoid cysts on the face, torso and limbs. They can affect up to 20% of people.

Both epidermoid and pilar cysts contain keratin, a semi-fluid white-cheesy substance that is formed by the lining of the cyst.

Epidermoid cysts have a small central opening, or punctum, and can sometimes discharge fluid, which can be malodorous.

They usually grow slowly if at all, but sometimes can get inflamed, red and painful, and can rupture.

Pilar cysts, mostly found on the scalp, do not have a central punctum. Therefore, they will not discharge material but often get caught on combs and brushes and can be uncomfortable or a source of concern.

Epidermal cells are in the top layer of the skin, the epidermis. In the case of epidermoid cysts, these cells migrate deeper into the skin, in the dermis. They then proliferate and create the cyst lining. The cyst lining secretes keratin, which forms the contents of the cyst.

In rare cases, they run in families and accompany other health problems.

In pilar cysts, the lining is made up of cells like those found in the roots of hairs. These are common in middle age. They can run in families.

I carry out a consultation where we discuss the duration of the cyst, and whether it is enlarging or causing any symptoms.

I follow this with an examination with a dermatoscope to make a definitive diagnosis and advise on possible treatment options.

Often cysts cause no symptoms, and you can leave them alone once I make a diagnosis.

If cysts get repeatedly inflamed, painful, or symptomatic, the best option is excision (removal), in a way to minimise scarring. I will effectively “shell out” the cyst to ensure it does not recur.

Incision and drainage carry a high risk of recurrence as that will leave behind the lining of the cyst. Therefore I do not routinely recommend it.

Sometimes, you may need a course of antibiotics before undertaking the procedure if the cyst is inflamed.

“Can you remove my cyst without leaving a scar?”

The most effective way of treating a cyst is to remove it surgically. This approach inevitably results in a linear scar.

However, we can use specific surgical methods to keep the length of the scar to a minimum, thereby resulting in good cosmetic appearance.

“Is it best to leave my cyst alone or to remove it?”

During your initial consultation, I will assess your cyst including any symptoms, its size and its site.

I will then proceed to outline the pros and cons of removing your cyst. I would not advise that we move to remove it if there is a risk of poor cosmetic outcome or if it is unlikely to benefit you.

“Will my cyst turn cancerous if I don’t remove it?”

The vast majority of cysts are benign and therefore can be left alone if they are not causing any symptoms or cosmetic concern. A specialist should assess any changing lesion.

Affiliations and memberships

I AM PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS

Questions and answers

RELEVANT AND INFORMATIVE VIDEOS AND ARTICLES

How can you prevent itchy skin?

There are several ways that you can assist in preventing itchy skin like soaps and clothing. However, you should see a healthcare professional to find the underlying cause of itchy skin.

About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.

Learn more about me

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