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Skin Care and Diseases

Tendency to have cysts

03/20/2006

Question:

About 6 months ago, I was diagnosed with a sebaceous cyst on my back (near the shoulder). That was removed with a small surgery. Recently, I found I had another cyst growing on my lower lip. As it had grown as large as a pea, that too was excised surgically.

My question is why am I having these cysts on my body? Were the two instances related? Could I have more cysts in the future? Is there any danger? Is there anything I can do to prevent them?

Thank you.

Answer:

It is not uncommon for adults to have occasional epidermoid cysts, particularly if they had acne during their teenage period.  The reasons for the cysts are really not known, although they are assumed to be endocrine-based along with genetic predisposition. 

My only concern with multiple cysts is that you might have some other underlying disorder.  I would see your primary care physician and ask if you have any of the findings of Gardners' Syndrome.  Otherwise it is probably a benign process and you will probably get more over your lifetime.  Removal is the treatment of choice. 

Be sure and talk to your primary care physician regarding Gardners' Syndrome.

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati