Cysts (cont.)

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What is the treatment for a cyst?

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The treatment for a cyst depends upon the cause of the cyst along with its location. Cysts that are very large and result in symptoms due to their size may be surgically removed. Sometimes the fluid contained within a cyst can be drained, or aspirated, by inserting a needle or catheter into the cyst cavity, resulting in collapse of the cyst. Imaging studies may be used for guidance in draining (aspirating) cyst contents if the cyst is not easily accessible. Drainage or removal of a cyst at home is not advised.

Surgical removal of a cyst is sometimes necessary. If there is any suspicion that a cyst is cancerous, the cyst is generally removed by surgery or a biopsy is taken of the cyst wall (capsule) to rule out malignancy. In certain cases, aspirated fluid from a cyst is examined under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present in the fluid within the cyst.

If a cyst arises as part of a chronic medical condition (for example, in polycystic ovary syndrome or fibrocystic breast disease), treatment is generally directed at the underlying medical condition.

Is prevention of cysts possible?

Prevention of cyst formation is only possible to the extent to which prevention of the underlying cause of the cyst is possible. Most kinds of cysts are not preventable.

What is the prognosis of cysts?

The majority of cysts are benign conditions and do not result in long-term or serious complications. However, cysts that are associated with malignancy or serious infections can have a poor prognosis.

Additional resources from WebMD Boots UK on Cysts, Lumps and Bumps


Hanson, Linda J., and Nathalie C. Zeitouni. "Epidermal Inclusion Cysts." May 6, 2010. <>.

Kumar, Vinay, Abul K. Abbas, Nelson Fausto, and Jon Aster. Robbins & Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2009.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/24/2013

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