Cyst Treatment

What are the treatments for the different types of cysts?

Cyst treatment is highly dependent upon the type and location of your cyst. Management can range from simply watching and waiting for your cyst to drain to surgical removal of organs and surrounding tissues for cysts that are associated with a malignant tumor.

Superficial cysts

Cysts that are located in the skin or in tissues just below the skin surface can be related to acne or other skin conditions. Sebaceous cysts are a common type of cyst of the skin and underlying tissues. Antibiotic treatment can be helpful for those who suffer from severe acne. Other small, benign cysts can be surgically removed (taking out the entire cyst and its surrounding wall) or drained (inserting a needle to draw out cyst fluid or contents). Antibiotics or packing of the wound may be required following the procedure, depending on the size and location of the cyst.

Cysts of specific organs or deeper tissues

Cysts within organs such as the kidneys, liver, or ovaries may be managed surgically or medically. Some conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome can be helped by medications. Isolated cysts of the ovary may be observed without treatment and some may resolve on their own. Other ovarian cysts may require biopsy and/or surgical removal to rule out a cancer.

Treatment considerations for cysts

Many simple benign cysts can be treated in the doctor's office with local anesthesia. Removal of larger cysts or cysts deep within the body may require general anesthesia in an operating room. Some types of cysts may resolve on their own over time, and small benign cysts that do not cause symptoms may not require treatment at all.

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Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.