Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Your family doctor or general practitioner will likely be able to diagnose an epidermoid cyst based on its appearance. In some cases, however, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions (dermatologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down your key medical information, including other conditions for which you've been treated and any prescription or over-the-counter medications you're taking, including vitamins and supplements. Your doctor will want to know whether you've ever had acne — with or without cysts — that required treatment, and whether you have a family history of severe acne or multiple cysts.
- Note any recent injuries to your skin, including accidental wounds or scrapes as well as any surgical procedures.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Having a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
Below are some basic questions to ask your doctor about epidermoid cysts. If any additional questions occur to you during your visit, don't hesitate to ask.
- Do I have an epidermoid cyst?
- What causes this type of cyst?
- Is the cyst infected?
- What treatment approach do you recommend, if any?
- Will I have a scar after treatment?
- Am I at risk of this condition recurring?
- Is there anything I can do to help prevent a recurrence?
- Do epidermoid cysts increase my risk of other health problems?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did you notice this skin growth?
- Have you noticed any other skin growths?
- Have you had similar growths in the past? If so, on what parts of your body?
- Have you had severe acne with cysts?
- Is the growth causing any discomfort?
- Are you embarrassed by the growth?
- Have you had any recent skin injuries, including minor scrapes?
- Have you recently had a surgical procedure in the affected area?
- Does a tendency to form cysts run in your family?
What you can do in the meantime
Resist the urge to try to squeeze or "pop" your cyst. Your doctor will be able to take care of the cyst with the least risk of scarring and infection.
- Epidermal cysts. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec10/ch127/ch127c.html. Accessed March 2, 2011.
- Goldstein BG, et al. Overview of benign lesions of the skin. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 18, 2011.
- Penneys NS, et al. Common benign cutaneous growths: Seborrheic keratoses, cherry hemangiomas, and epidermoid cysts. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/education/students/benign_cutan_growths.htm. Accessed March 2, 2011.
- Thomas VD, et al. Benign epithelial tumors, hamartomas, and hyperplasias. In Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2981819. Accessed March 3, 2011.
- Habif TP. Benign skin tumors. In: Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed March 3, 2011.