Removal of scalp cysts
July 1, 2021 12:59 AM   Subscribe

I have several smallish (1-2 cm) cysts on my scalp that I am keen to have removed. I went to see a skin-specialist GP and the method she described seemed to be to remove the cyst and skin on top of the cyst, so that a 1cm cyst would leave a 5 cm scar. This seems excessive to me - my impression from the internet is that only a small incision about the size of the cyst is required. Is this right?

The cysts are a little uncomfortable and get in the way when I am wearing earmuffs. My normal GP referred me to this doctor when I asked about removing the cysts. This doctor does not do the surgical procedure herself, and I have a consultation appointment with the actual GP at that practice who does. In prep for that, though, I'd like to understand what the process is. I'm not going to go ahead if it is really going to require shaving a large area of my head (the GP said it was about a 4x5 cm region per cyst) or 5 cm scars.
So 1) is this really the standard method of removing these cysts? 2) if not, what type of doctor should I see (in Australia) to get a more conservative treatment?
posted by neatsocks to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I had a thing removed on my cheek, and the scar was only slightly bigger than the thing, but the relief it gave was huge. It must have put pressure on some nerve or something. (I'm using "thing" because the ruling is still out on what it was). Anyway, the surgeon was a plastic surgeon (which may well be why I don't know what it was), and after a year, the scar has disappeared completely even though I am old and supposed to be bad at healing.
posted by mumimor at 1:27 AM on July 1, 2021

Best answer: Both a past girlfriend and my wife have had these removed from their scalps. They only required incisions large enough to pull each cyst out, so about the same size, as you have seen elsewhere. (This is in the UK.)
posted by dowcrag at 2:54 AM on July 1, 2021

Best answer: My friend had several removed from her scalp a few months ago. Tiny incisions just large enough to remove cysts.
posted by Neekee at 5:45 AM on July 1, 2021

Best answer: A reason I would think for a resection of that size would be to check for/eliminate cancerous growth.
posted by Dmenet at 7:10 AM on July 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It depends on how large the cyst is under the skin, since the incision must be wide enough to remove the sac cleanly as well. Also, if the cyst is significantly raised, the incision will be the length of the circumference over the top, not the radius from side to side.
posted by ananci at 7:36 AM on July 1, 2021

Best answer: I've had 5ish sebacious cysts removed from my scalp. None involved shaving. All were removed by an incision roughly the same size as the cyst, and the biggest concern was getting the sac out cleanly too, otherwise it might regrow. They all involved a stitch or two.

I'm in the US and saw a dermatologist for this.
posted by Dashy at 7:57 AM on July 1, 2021

Best answer: Last month my partner had a cyst removed from her scalp that was about the diameter of a US quarter; they shaved only the surface of the cyst itself and the incision and stitches were limited to that area, which seems consistent with the other answers you're getting.
posted by ook at 10:54 AM on July 1, 2021

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