Sebaceous Cysts Research Paper

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Sebaceous cysts are harmless growths that occur right under the skin that causes raised bumps. These growths are regularly non-cancerous and contain mainly liquid or semi-solid matter. Sebaceous cysts are also known as epidermal/epidermoid, keratin and epidermal inclusion cysts; however true epidermoid cysts are a result of damaged hair follicles.

Definition & Facts

The sebaceous area in the skin is in the layer known as the dermis, or the layer below the epidermis, an area that is approximately 0.05 to 1.5 millimeters deep. The dermis is 1.5 to 4 millimeters thick, containing
- Arrector pili muscles (the muscles that raise the hairs)
- Sebaceous gland
- Sebum
- Hair follicles
- Sweat glands

The sebaceous gland secretes an oily
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When the sebaceous gland becomes over-engorged and blocked, this creates a sebaceous cyst. In extremely rare cases, some sebaceous cysts can become benignly tumorous or cancerous.

Symptoms and Complaints

Since the cysts are below the skin, they irritate the epidermis upon being blocked, irritated or inflamed. The area around the cyst may become warm, tender, sore and/or odorous. The odor that emits from the white to gray pus resembles that of a pungent cheese odor.

Symptoms of sebaceous cysts (SCs) are usually evident on the face, neck and trunk. (The trunk consists of the chest, midsection, abdomen and pelvic area.) Sebaceous cysts that develop, often grow slowly over time and are not painful. The cysts become engorged, forming pale, movable lumps underneath the skin.

The palms of the hands and the soles of one’s feet are the only areas of the body that cannot develop cystic
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NOTE: Though the initial causes of both acne and cysts remain the same (the sebaceous gland), the difference between the two is the infection of the area. The P. acne, causing the skin to become infected (creating a whitehead or blackhead depending on the partial or whole clogging of the pore) is what separates a pimple from an EC.

Some sebaceous cysts are caused by a defective sebaceous gland.

Diagnosis & Tests

Physicians and doctors can usually diagnose a cyst simply by observing it in a physical exam. In other cases, some tests can be done in order to properly diagnose the cyst as a sebaceous cyst.

One test performed to check the skin is a skin lesion biopsy. There are four subcategories of lesion biopsies
1) Shave biopsy
2) Punch biopsy
3) Excisional biopsy
4) Incisional biopsy
A shave biopsy is performed via a razor blade tool that extracts the epidermal skin layers from the skin’s surface. A punch biopsy is performed by a circular razor punch tool that is used to cut a section of the skin in order to test the area for the possibility of being a sebaceous cyst. Excisional and incisional biopsies are extractions of the affected area by means of a surgical knife; however an incisional biopsy only removes part of the affected

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