Causes Of Epidermal Inclusion Cyst: Symptoms And Treatment

Epidermal inclusion cyst is a cyst formed due to injury to the epidermis layer of the skin. Epidermis is the uppermost skin surface. A cyst is small sac like structure that is filled with fluid or semi solid material. Epidermal inclusion cyst is a benign cyst. It can develop anywhere on skin surface depending on the injured area. However, it has predilection to develop on face, scalp, trunk, palm and sole.

Minor surgery and injury on the skin surface can cause epidermal inclusion cyst. When a crush injury forces the epidermis into the deeper layer of dermis, it leads to formation of epidermal inclusion cyst.

The size of such cyst may vary from few millimeters to few centimeters. The cyst is firm with well demarcated boundary.

As such the epidermal inclusion cyst is harmless and does not require any treatment. However, some people seek treatment for cosmetic purpose or any discomfort. Treatment consists of surgical removal of the cyst.

What Causes Epidermal Inclusion Cyst?

Epidermal inclusion cyst is a harmless skin growth. It can develop at any age but most often the condition is observed in middle aged individuals. Men and women are equally disposed to this condition, but the cyst is more common in men as compared to women.

The exact etiology of epidermal inclusion cyst is unclear but it usually develops after an injury to the skin.

It can occur in any area of the skin, however commonly observed on sole and palm. Epidermal inclusion cyst occurs due to implantation and proliferation of epidermis cell into the dermis layer after the injury. This leads to formation of a sac like cyst. The cyst develops on the traumatic area. Frequently such type of cyst is observed after body piercing or crushing injury or a skin incision.

Symptoms Of Epidermal Inclusion Cyst

Normally epidermal inclusion cyst does not produce any symptoms. In some cases the symptoms may include as follows:

  • Epidermal inclusion cyst normally develops as a solitary lesion. In majority of cases the size of cyst is small.
  • The lump may feel firm on touch.
  • It is not mobile or fluctuating under the skin.
  • The skin covering the cyst is reddish and smooth.
  • Epidermal inclusion cyst is painless. There is no itching on skin surface.
  • It has well demarcated boundary.
  • Epidermal cyst can occur in any part of skin surface. But most often the cyst is seen on palm, sole, face, neck, and on the trunk.
  • It is a slow growing cyst.
  • Less likely, but if the cyst ruptures there is risk of secondary infection and pus formation.

Treatment For Epidermal Inclusion Cyst

Epidermal inclusion cyst is a non cancerous growth which usually does not need any treatment. However, treatment may become necessary if the symptoms are bothersome to the patient, especially due to the cosmetic reasons. One of the most common treatment measures is complete removal of the cyst. Surgical excision of the cyst is preferred option.

Once the cyst is removed there is no risk of recurrence. Medical treatment consists of administering steroid injection in the cyst. It will help to faster resolution of inflammation. If the lesion is infected oral antibiotics may be required before excision.

The prognosis of epidermal inclusion cyst is excellent after the treatment.

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