Cysts are balloon-like structures in the skin filled with solid or fluid material. They most often contain sebaceous material, the oily substance that would normally be present on the surface of the skin for normal lubrication. Cysts can occur anywhere on the body, although the face, neck, back and area behind the ears are the most common sites. They develop as an infection, often from a swollen hair follicle, and require treatment to prevent them from enlarging or becoming cancerous.
Cysts can range in size from tiny to huge. Small cysts can easily be expressed within seconds with a comedone or cyst expresser. Larger cysts may need a longer period of time to be spent on surgical removal. Cysts may stay in the skin for years, but they may also increase in size or rupture, which causes them to become tender, red and infected. Such cysts need drainage and may also require an oral antibiotic.
Cyst removal is typically done through surgical excision. A small incision is made in the area of the cyst and then the cyst and surrounding tissue will be removed to ensure complete excision. A local anesthetic is used for this procedure. Most cysts do not return when thoroughly removed. Some patients are left with a small scar after a cyst is removed, which can be further treated with a reconstructive treatment, although most scars will fade over time.
Ear piercings should only be performed by a properly trained and licensed person using a new, sterile needle. Having the ears pierced is a very common procedure, but poor after-care can lead to infections that may have permanent effects on the health and appearance of the ears. The most important part of caring for newly pierced ears is keeping the piercing clean. The ear lobe can become infected if the area is exposed to bacteria. The ideal method of cleaning is to soak a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide and apply it to both sides of the ears, once in the morning and once in the evening each day. If the pierced area starts to redden or itch, an antibiotic ointment may be needed to prevent an infection from developing. If the redness and/or itching persist for more than a couple of days or fluid drainage occurs, it may be necessary to visit the doctor.
Over time, a pierced earlobe can become stretched if a person frequently wears large or heavy earrings. In addition to creating a long or wide opening, earrings may tear completely through the lobe. A torn earlobe may also result from trauma, such as having an earring pulled off or caught on clothing.
Torn earlobes can be repaired with a quick in-office procedure performed under local anesthesia.
Torn earlobe repair first involves "freshening" the edges of the torn lobe by removing a small amount of skin. Then, using fine sutures, the earlobe is meticulously repaired to reconstruct a normal, rounded earlobe that matches your natural ear shape.
You will be able to return home immediately after the procedure, with only a small bandage covering the stitches. The stitches will be removed after one to two weeks. When the earlobe has healed and the scar has softened, you may re-pierce the repaired earlobe. It takes about three months for the earlobe to fully heal.
A lipoma is a benign soft-tissue tumor that can be found anywhere on the skin and is most common in middle-aged patients. Lipomas rarely become cancerous and are not usually a medical concern unless they become infected. However, many people are bothered by the appearance of lipomas and seek treatment to have them removed.
Lipomas can be removed through surgical excision, which removes the sac or lipoma wall, as well as the entire lipoma. This is done under a local anesthetic and closed with stitches. Most lipomas do not return after surgical excision.
Keloids are overgrown areas of scar tissue that form at the site of a previous injury such as an incision, wound, vaccination, pimple or piercing. They appear on the skin as an irregularly-shaped pink or red scar that is raised above the rest of the skin and continues to grow into areas that were not affected by the initial injury.
Treatment of keloids depends on the personal preference and desired outcome of the patient. The only true cure for keloids is to prevent them from occurring, but there are several procedures available to help improve the appearance and related symptoms. Some of these treatments help flatten keloids, while others reduce redness and size. Most treatments will leave an irregular mark or texture on the skin.
Keloid treatments include:
- Cortisone injections
Although keloids are not medically dangerous, many people seek treatment to restore the appearance of their skin and help the keloid become less noticeable over time. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment option is best for you.