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Cyst Removal
Cyst Removal in Los Angeles



A cyst underneath the skin usually occurs over time, with patients gradually notice a firm mass underneath the surface of the skin. Although skin cysts usually occur in hair bearing areas, they can occur on any surface of the face or body.  Our office treats skin cysts that occur on the scalp, face, and body.


Once the skin cyst reaches a critical size, patients begin to notice a firm lump underneath the skin.  If you examine a cyst closely, you will likely notice a punctum, which represents the sentinel pore that caused the cyst in the first place.  The goal of treatment is to remove the cyst in its entirety, so squeezing or rupturing the cyst may be detrimental to therapy.  Internal rupture of a skin cyst usually results in further inflammation and infection, making the removal of a cyst more difficult.  


Non operative treatment of simple cysts is a conservative approach that has been found useful for cysts that pose no health concerns or cysts that are not symptomatic.  Sometimes, a simple cyst will become inflamed, requiring intervention with an injectable kenalog or steroid medicine.  The cortisone shot can help soothe the inflammation and calm the skin around the inflamed cyst.  If there is recurrence of inflammation, infection, or rapid growth of a cyst that has been managed conservatively, there may be a need to switch to surgical removal of the cyst as an alternative treatment measure.  


If you are considering treatment for a benign cyst of the face or body, schedule a consultation first before attempting to extract or drain the cyst.  Complete removal of a cyst is made more difficult in the setting of infection, incomplete drainage, or inflammation.  Incisions used to remove a cyst are usually very small and are placed in well hidden locations in the skin. 


Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian is a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in Los Angeles and can help you decide which option is preferable in your particular situation.  Operative treatments for simple skin cysts are usually performed on an outpatient basis with the patient awake and the administration of local anesthesia.  After surgery, the cyst will be sent to a pathologist for review to determine the type of cyst.  In our practice, we have surgically treated epidermal cysts, epidermoid cysts, sebaceous cysts, and pilar cysts. 




Some cysts are formed on the scalp and these lumps are usually confused with lipomas or epidermal inclusion cysts.  The most common form of cysts that occur on hair bearing scalp tissue are known as trichilemmal cysts and arise as a result of a hair follicle that has become clogged.  In our experience, these scalp cysts arise from hair bearing tissue and have characteristic patterns of growth and hair loss.  Some patients may have a family history of scalp cysts and others may have multiple scalp cysts that have developed over varying stages of their lives. Treatments incorporate solid plastic surgery principles to avoid hair loss and scarring on the scalp. Sometimes a trichilemmal scalp cyst is known as a pilar cyst.  




A ganglion cyst is usually a fluid filled sac that arises from the bony joint interface that occurs on the hands and wrist.  The fluid is usually comprised of joint synovial fluid and the source of the cyst is usually an outpouching of material from the joint capsule itself.  The majority of patients who have ganglion cysts first notice a small fluid filled sac on the fingers, back of the hand, or wrist.  These usually represent a benign process from arthritic wear or from acute or chronic trauma to the joint.  


Treatment of ganglion cysts begins with conservative measures to either observe the cysts or aspiration of the benign ganglion cyst if necessary.  Surgical removal is performed in some cases that are symptomatic or rapidly progressing.  Removal of a cyst with surgery is usually performed under local or regional anesthesia with the patient awake.  If a ganglion cyst is bothering you, a consultation followed by surgical removal is indicated in symptomatic or progressing cysts.  Incisions are usually very small and placed in hidden creases along the finger, hand, or wrist.  


One of the most famous celebrities to undergo mucoid cyst removal from a finger was President George Bush, who in 1989, underwent a surgical removal of a ganglion cyst at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC and then recuperated in Camp David thereafter.  The surgeons identified the finger cyst as a mucoid cyst near the tip of the President's middle finger.  The surgery was performed with the President awake with a digital ring block  and local anesthesia.  



Often, we see patients with skin tags during a consultation for skin cysts.  If you have skin tags and wish to undergo treatment for the small benign growths on the body, our expert team of clinicians can help you.  Skin tags are usually formed as irregular growths arising from friction between skin.  They most commonly occur on the neck, armpits, and groin areas.  Treatment of skin tags begins with administration of local anesthetic, followed by electrodessication, surgical excision, or hyfrecation of the skin tags.  Most treatments take a few minutes to perform with excellent cosmetic results with treatment. Call our Los Angeles plastic surgery practice for more information and to schedule a consultation for skin tag removal or cyst removal. 




  1. How long does cyst removal take to perform? In our Los Angeles plastic surgery office, we are nationally-accredited by the AAAHC and employ the highest standards of safety in practice.  Cyst removal takes time, as it is a surgical procedure. Most cysts are removed under local anesthesia and take about one hour to complete.
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