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PubMed Health. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Cyst

Last reviewed: November 20, 2012.

A cyst is a closed pocket or pouch of tissue. It can be filled with air, fluid, pus, or other material.

Considerations

Cysts may form within any tissue in the body. Most cysts is the lungs are filled with air. Cysts that form in the lymph system or kidneys are fluid-filled. Certain parasites, such as trichinosis, dog tapeworm (Toxocara canis), and echinococcus, can form cysts within the muscles, liver, brain, lungs, and eyes.

Cysts are common on the skin. They can develop from a clogged sebaceous glands (acne-related cysts) or form around something stuck in the skin. These cysts are benign (not cancer) but can cause pain and changes in appearance.

Cysts can be drained or removed with surgery depending on the type and location of the growth.

pilonidal dimple is a type of cyst.

References

  1. Stone MS. Cysts. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds.Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa:Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 110.
  2.  

Review Date: 11/20/2012.

Reviewed by: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

What works?

  • Oral contraceptives to treat cysts of the ovaryOral contraceptives to treat cysts of the ovary
    Women of reproductive age usually release an egg about once a month. The ovary gets an egg from the inside of the ovary to its surface by creating a blister or fluid‐filled space around the developing egg. When the blister (or cyst) reaches the surface of the ovary, it bursts and releases the egg into the abdominal cavity. After this occurs, the blister can develop into another type of cyst, which makes a hormone (progesterone) that helps the pregnancy to grow. Most of these cysts come and go without problems. Sometimes, however, the cysts get large or painful; others may remain for months. Several decades ago, health care providers learned that women taking birth control pills had fewer cysts, since the pills usually kept an egg from being released. Based on this fact, many clinicians started treating these cysts with birth control pills to make them go away faster.
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