What is Epidermal Cyst?

An epidermal cyst, also known as an epidermoid cyst, sebaceous cyst, inclusion cyst or keratin cyst , is a small, painless, benign, slow-growing bump under the skin. Characterized by a sac filled with a greyish-white, foul-smelling, cheesy-like substance called keratin, they are usually found on the face, scalp, behind the ears, neck, upper back, chest or genitals. Epidermal cysts are usually caused by the blockage of a hair follicle by acne or injury to the skin, or blockage of a sebaceous gland, which excretes an oily substance to lubricate the skin and hair. They occur more commonly in males rather than females, and more often in young to middle aged adults. Some people with rare syndromes may also experience numerous epidermal cysts are one of the symptoms. However, these epidermal cysts are almost always non-cancerous and rarely cause problems or require treatment.

What are the signs and symptoms?

An epidermal cyst appears as a small lump under the skin. It can sometimes excrete a foul-smelling, cheesy-like material from inside the sac of the cyst. When infected, it can also be red, inflamed and painful. Occasionally, a little horn may develop over the cyst. If you are experiencing these symptoms, check with your family doctor that it is a benign epidermal cyst.

Examples of epidermal cysts Intraoperative Picture for epidermal cysts.

Saline-filled implants

Most women receive saline-filled implants which consist of a silicone shell filled with sterile salt. This type of implant is generally less expensive.

What kind of tests can I undergo?

A doctor can usually identify an epidermal cyst just by visual inspection. A physical exam may be needed, or a referral to a dermatologist. Surgical excision of the entire lesion may help to confirm the diagnosis and to eliminate any fears of malignancy.

What are the treatment options?

Usually, no immediate treatment is necessary for epidermal cysts. If it is not malignant, it would not be harmful to one’s health to leave it as it is. However, many people with epidermal cysts do tend to seek treatment, especially since the lesion is always continually growing. This is usually for cosmetic reasons, if the cyst is in an irritating location (like in the scalp while combing hair), or if it has become infected. There are a number of possible options for different kinds of treatments. A steroid injection may reduce the inflammation of the cyst, but it does not remove it. Surgical drainage consists of cutting open the cyst, draining the pus inside and then removing the cyst wall, but this can leave some part of the cyst behind, allowing it to recur. Antibiotics can be prescribed if the cyst is infected, but again this does not get rid of the cyst itself. The only definitive method of treatment for epidermal cysts is surgical excision. This is the method that Dr. Hong prefers to perform, whereby the entire cyst, including the cyst wall and its contents, are removed intact. This method has the lowest probability of leaving any of the cyst behind, reducing the chances of the cyst growing back.

What can I expect from surgery?

The surgical procedure to remove an epidermal cyst is quite easy. The surgery itself would typically take approximately 15 minutes. Local freezing would be used, and about 20-30 minutes would be added to the surgery time to allow for the freezing to set in. However, because of the local freezing, the patient would be fit to drive home afterwards. Once the specimen has been excised, it will be sent to a lab to be tested for any malignancy and to confirm the diagnosis. Stitches will be needed, and will typically be removed 5-14 days later, depending on the size and location of surgery. Redness is normal even after the stitches have been taken out, but after 4-6 months the scar should be hardly visible. There should be minimal to no pain after the local freezing has worn off, but Tylenol Extra Strength can be taken if there is.


What are the risks?

The risks of excising an epidermal cyst are very rare but can include infection, suture reactions, bleeding, bruising, and scarring. Please speak to your doctor about any medications you are taking and if you have had abnormal scarring (keloids or hypertrophic scars) in the past.

How much will it cost?

Unfortunately, the surgery to remove an epidermal cyst is not covered by OHIP. A consultation with Dr. Hong is recommended to find out the exact price for your procedure. Without a referral from your family doctor, an $95 consultation fee will be required, but it will be applied towards the cost of the surgery. There is no additional fee for follow up appointments such as the removal of sutures.

In the greater Toronto area, Dr. Hong is regarded as a highly accomplished Toronto nose surgeryear surgerybrow lift and facelift specialist. He is also instrumental in helping eyelid surgery Toronto patients attain their goal of a more youthful, dynamic facial profile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing your desired implant for surgery depends on quite a number of multiple factors which include your native breast dimension (height and width) , projection, rib cage width, body anatomy, volume, the thickness of tissue, how you want the breast to look like after surgery. The most effective way of choosing implant size is to try out sizers from your surgeon while wearing a tight body fit.

In cases of implant weights, the bigger the implants the more they will likely weigh. The size of 100 cc silicone implant generally weighs 0.23 lbs while that of the saline implant with size 100 cc weighs 0.21 lbs. Going bigger in size, a 300 cc silicone implant weighs 0.69 pounds and a pair weighs 1.38 pounds. 300 cc saline implants weigh 0.63 lb and a pair weighs 1.26 lbs. In this case, implants weigh almost the same as the exact amount that an actual breast tissue would weigh. 

In most cases, the weight varies slightly depending on the manufacturers. There might be a slight weight variation from different manufacturers.

Whether or not a person performs a breast augmentation, the genetic makeup of the individual has a major role to play in the contribution of breast sag. Factors such as weight (increasing or decreasing), gravity, age, skin elasticity & ethnicity have a lot to do when it comes to breast augmentation sagging. In this case, use a very good supportive bra that will help you to reduce the effect of sagging.

The lifespan of breast implant is not actually guaranteed as it is not predictable when the implant lifecycle will eventually end. In which case, no matter how your counseling process has been with your surgeon before the operation, always bear in mind that you cannot have a breast implant that will last a lifetime. 

There is no set expiry date attached to breast implants because there has not been a reason to get them replaced unless there is a possible rupture or have other problems. Most times implants exceed more than 12 years and even last up to 30 years in some cases.  

There are quite a number of new implants that have been introduced for breast augmentation and are known as “jelly bean”, “gummy bear”, or “highly cohesive gel” implants that are also available for breast augmentation and they have a firmer feeling, but there are no effective long term results to indicate that they are much better or tend to last longer than the saline or silicone implants.  

Breast augmentation is normally performed in our Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. It also has certification by the College of Physicians and Surgeon OHP program.

Since the surgery is under general anesthesia, there is no pain during the procedure. 

The greatest period of discomfort for the patient is usually the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours after breast augmentation surgery. Afterward, pains will reduce and there will be no need for too much pain relievers as usual. We do a 24-hour recovery routine that most patients have a very little discomfort after 24 hours. In the case where breast implants are placed in the submuscular position, there will initially cause more discomfort than when it is placed in the subglandular pocket ( in front of the muscle).

In the case of breast augmentation, general anesthesia is commonly used. This will guarantee a painless procedure and also the surgeon can concentrate to deliver his best surgical result. 

You can see pre and post-operative result in our office.

Related Services:

Check out our videos:

Are There Any Other Non-surgical Options for a Chemical Peel?

What Are the Risks and Possible Complications of Skin Grafting?

Are There Any Other Non-surgical Options for a Skin Tightening Surgery?

Our Testimonials

Elizabeth Ezpinosa

Amazing experience, Doctor Hong is very confident and good at what he does. Every time I go to him I always get good results that I love and feel safe. Very friendly and helpful staff!

Pat Kia

He has very good skills and also a very professional team.

C Wong

Dr. Hong and his staff are very efficient. Dr. Hong managed to diagnose my genetic disease that's been going on for years, and proposed a reasonable price given my situation. Thank you Dr. Hong. I greatly appreciated your help and will recommend your service to my friends and family