What can I Expect During Sebaceous Cyst Removal?

N. Madison
N. Madison

In most cases, sebaceous cyst removal means surgery. A doctor may remove the entire cyst and suture the wound shut or drain and then remove the cyst wall, allowing the wound to heal without sutures. Sometimes, however, doctors may attempt other treatments for sebaceous cysts before removing them surgically. For example, a doctor may administer injections, drain cysts, and use lasers to destroy a cyst as an alternative to using incisions to remove it.

A doctor may use sutures when removing a sebaceous cyst.
A doctor may use sutures when removing a sebaceous cyst.

If a person wants to have a sebaceous cyst removed entirely rather than treated, this often means surgery. In such a case, a doctor may cut the sebaceous cyst out of the surrounding tissue. In most case, this is not a complicated or serious procedure. Often, it can be accomplished in a doctor’s office and usually prevents a cyst from reoccurring.

A sebaceous cyst.
A sebaceous cyst.

The procedure used to remove an entire sebaceous cyst is referred to as a total excision. With a total excision, a doctor cuts the cyst out and uses sutures to close the wound. Wounds from a cyst on a patient's face typically take about a week to heal enough for a doctor to remove the sutures; for those that affect other parts of the body, it takes about two weeks. In most cases, a total excision is best performed on a cyst that is not inflamed. For this reason, doctors often try other treatments to remove inflammation before going forward with a total excision.

Surgery is generally required for the removal of a sebaceous cyst.
Surgery is generally required for the removal of a sebaceous cyst.

In some cases, sebaceous cyst removal involves a procedure referred to as minimal excision instead. To accomplish this, a doctor cuts into a cyst and drains its contents. He then extracts the cyst through the tiny incision he used to remove its contents. With this type of sebaceous cyst removal, a doctor may not use sutures. In many cases, a doctor allows this type of wound to heal on its own instead.

While sebaceous cysts can occur on any part of the body, they tend to show up on the face and neck.
While sebaceous cysts can occur on any part of the body, they tend to show up on the face and neck.

Laser treatments may also be used for sebaceous cyst removal. With this type of treatment, a doctor uses a laser beam to destroy the cyst. Often, this type of treatment helps to minimize the risk of scarring as well.

Sometimes a person may want to have a sebaceous cyst treated rather than removed. In such a case, he may ask his doctor for injections with a medication that is intended to reduce inflammation. This treatment is usually only applied if a cyst is not infected. Sometimes doctors may also treat a cyst by draining its contents through a small incision.

Laser treatments may be used for sebaceous cyst removal.
Laser treatments may be used for sebaceous cyst removal.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


I had a blackhead on my back where you close your bra for twenty years. One month ago, I started growing a cyst where the blackhead is and I developed an infection which was treated with antibiotics for two weeks.

Last week, I had the cyst removed entirely and needed twenty stitches to close the wound. This Thursday I have a follow up appointment and the results of a biopsy from the cyst they removed. Praying that everything cones back normal!


I had a facial cyst removed, but after a few days, it started to swell and drain again. I don't know whether it was completely removed or not, but the doctor is saying he completely removed it. I am very worried. Please help. I am from India.


I had a cyst on my chest which became infected. The doctor removed it yesterday. It wasn't the most comfortable procedure but the pain I was experiencing prior to the removal was quite significant, and that pain was entirely gone as soon as he was done. Then I had expected pain removal for the rest of the day, but I only needed to take two ibuprofens, one immediately after the procedure and one before I went to bed.

Today, just one day later, I have almost no discomfort whatsoever, just an occasional twinge. The doctor is pretty confident that he was able to completely remove all parts of the cyst so it will not return. If any of you are afraid to have your cyst removed, if your removal goes as smoothly as mine you'll be really happy that you went through with it.

I just wish I'd had mine removed earlier, before it became infected. The infection was really painful!


I am going to get a sebaceous cyst removed from my temple, and a deep lipoma one from my jaw line (more so cheek). I am very nervous about this procedure as they are giving me local anesthetics and a sedative. I feel like the anesthetics and sedative is a little much. I feel like I would prefer some good old fashioned novocaine and a little pain and discomfort.

What do you think? Should I be so worried about this? I know the crazy risk factors of anesthetics and sedatives, however, I don't know whether they happen often.


I've just had surgery today to remove a recurring cyst on my forehead above my right eyebrow. It was not infected at the time, and I almost couldn't see it anymore and it was a tough decision as to whether or not to still go ahead with the removal.

The procedure took about 20 minutes under a local anesthetic and the worst part was the four injections into my forehead. It stings like hell. But once it's numbed, you don't really feel what's going on, maybe just a little poking around.

I'm glad it's gone now. I just have to wait for the stitches to be removed. I hope the scar is not too bad.


I disagree. I would get a cyst removed if you have an infection. Suck it up and get it over with. I had a huge, infected one on my face and the surgery took away all the embarrassment, infection, pain, and stress. It was well worth the pain that lasted less than five minutes. It is not worth it trying all these crazy home remedies and do-it-yourself methods that last for days when a doctor with education can do it for you.


Can I cut my pilar cyst with a blade myself?


My husband had a spot on his back that he had checked out. The doctor told him he needed to have a removal of this sebaceous cyst. It was done right there in the office, but basically they just cut the whole cyst out.

The spot was tender and sore for quite a while after the surgery, but the cyst has never come back. He was just glad it was something that was not serious and could be treated quickly with little recovery time involved.


I went through a period of being plagued by cysts. I'd had a few bumps on my body but had no idea that they were waiting to develop into something else.

The first one to give me trouble was on my shoulder blade. It got infected but I never got any official treatment. Instead I used antiseptic from the pharmacy and rigged up my own dressings. It was agony if anything touched it, and took ages to heal. I was also left with a small dent in the skin there.

When I developed another cyst on my spine I made the decision to see a doctor straightaway. I was given some antibiotics to help reduce the inflammation, and warned that if it didn't burst soon I would need further treatment.

It's not difficult to educate yourself a little, and I was wary of the consequences of infected sebaceous cyst removal. At the end of the day though it's hard to argue with a doctor, you have to presume they know best.

After ten days and no inprovement I went in for the minor procedure. I was told there'd be a local anesthetic and just a little discomfort. Wrong! I have never felt such pain, and I'll admit I cursed the doctor a lot in my head.

I would recommend you avoid the cyst being cut into if you have a severe infection, as this seems to stop the numbing effect which you would expect to protect you from pain.


I have a cyst on my neck that I have had treated two times. My sebaceous cyst treatment consisted of draining the cyst. Each time they have drained the cyst they tell me that it is possible that it will return. There was about a three year span before it returned the first time.

If I want to have the cyst completely removed, I will need to have surgery done. This is not a large cyst, and I have just gotten used to it. If it returns for a third time, I will probably decide to have it removed so it does not keep returning.

The cyst is not harmful, just a little annoying - especially since it is in a spot that is visible.

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