This is What a Cyst Looks Like

The Outside of the Cyst ...

this cyst is just bigger than the size of a large pea
this cyst is just bigger than the size of a large pea | Source

Cyst Removal

I had a second cyst removed today. I brought my camera so I could share what a cyst actually looks like after it's removed or at least what my cyst looked like.

My physio therapist noticed a lump on my back and suggested I mention it to my doctor. A couple weeks later I showed Dr. M. and he explained to me that it was a cyst.

Apparently very common, he suggested removing it at some point, as sometimes they can become infected. So I booked an appointment for after the holidays.

When I had my first cyst removed, my doctor asked me where my camera was. I felt it was an invitation to take pictures and share.

Protein and Fat Build Up

A couple weeks later I found another lump. This one felt similar but was smaller. It felt like another cyst.

Although the lump was not very painful, every once in a while it would ache and become very distracting. I was glad to have the first one removed.

So back to the doctor I went. I was right and an appointment for 2 weeks later was made to remove the smaller cyst.

Dr. M explained to me that it was simply luck of the draw that I got 2 cysts so close together.

He also explained that the cysts were simply a fluid or protein and fat build up under the skin.

Cysts Come in all Different Sizes

Dr. M. needs to take a look inside to see if the cyst warrants further testing.
Dr. M. needs to take a look inside to see if the cyst warrants further testing. | Source

Cysts Come in Different Sizes

The surgery to remove the cyst is minor surgery and was be performed by the doctor right in his office.

This doctor has been treating me for almost 5 years and I trust him implicitly. I wasn't worried about his abilities at all. He has had to do a couple of delicate procedures on me before and has seen me many health issues. He is a pro.

It was quite a relaxed atmosphere.

We chatted away and he let me know what was coming just before he did it. I told him he could do anything as long as I knew what to expect.

I honestly didn't feel anything after the second needle. He administered the needles as well as anyone on the IV team that has poked me.

It took a few minutes. He gave me 5 stitches, taped me up, told me to stay out of the pool for 48 hours to help with the scarring and that was it. Then he showed me the cyst in detail.

These pictures are of the second cyst removed. Except for the size, they look very much the same. The first cyst my doctor removed was the size of a round nickle, about 4 times bigger than the one in the photo. The one in these photos are a bit bigger than the size of a pea.

You can see its scale as compared to the exacto knife the doctor is using.

Looking Inside

a white to yellow thick "semisolid" substance
a white to yellow thick "semisolid" substance | Source
scraping the inside contents away from the "skin" allows for a better look.
scraping the inside contents away from the "skin" allows for a better look. | Source

What Does This Cyst Look Like on the Inside?

The doctor needs to check the cyst to determine whether it needs to be sent into the lab for a closer examination.

As he cuts into it, I can see an outer layer that looks like a thick skin. This is the part that has formed the "balloon" that is holding the contents inside. It reminds me of the inside skin of a lobster...

"Cyst : A cyst is an abnormal, closed sac-like structure within a tissue that contains a liquid, gaseous, or semisolid substance." as defined on

In this case the inside is filled with a thick moist substance that almost looks like curdled hollandaise sauce, so "semisolid" fits the description.
It looks like congealed fat, at least to me.

There was one other difference in my two cysts. The first one that was removed was growing in size. It grew quite a bit by the time the doctor actually cut it out (remember it was 4 times the size of the one in the photo). The second cyst appeared to be getting smaller (pictured here, it was a bit bigger than a pea).

He removed it anyway after taking into consideration several other health concerns.

Apparently there is always a chance that a cyst will come back.

My husband had a cyst removed from his back and it came back. He had it removed a second time and it hasn't returned; so far anyway.

From the Inside Out

checking to see if it needs to be sent for more tests
checking to see if it needs to be sent for more tests | Source

Cysts Can Become Infected

As the good doctor was showing me the cyst he pointed out the outer layer. The piece of "skin" that looks like a grape skin.

He said it is very important to make sure this outer layer is completely removed during the procedure, otherwise an infection can more easily occur.

As I looked closely at the cyst, I could see how an infection could occur inside the cyst. I could also see that insides of the cyst could burst open.

An infection could quite easily get out of control.

3 Stitches No Waiting

3 stitches for the pea sized cyst incision;
3 stitches for the pea sized cyst incision; | Source

Live Cyst Removal

Cysts Are Full of Information

What these photos are showing is a healthy cyst, if a cyst can be healthy that is.

My doctor did not see any reason to get further lab tests done on my cyst. The re was no abnormality beyond his expectation. The colour and texture were what he expected. There were no surprises once he opened it up. He looked very closely and carefully.

He treated the cysts like treasures found during an ancient dig. They are full of information about their past and how they got there, if read correctly by an expert.

I thought it was great that he actually suggested I bring my camera. It was interesting to have him show me what was in my body and explain it to me in detail. I appreciated that he took time with me and my cyst. He considered it important since I was interested (he did ask).

I, in turn, am happy to pass on the photos and a few of my doctor's simple explanations.

I am hope the photos will help calm anyone who is nervous about having a cyst removed. I was nervous before the first one was removed. It turned out to be painless and quick.

As for having the cyst growing inside me, now that I've seen it, I'm glad I had them removed.

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The information provided in this article is not a substitute or replacement for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician or alternative health care provider before taking any herbal supplements, home remedies, new products or changing your health regime.

Remember: Even though we are responsible for our own health, we need the guidance of trained professionals.

© 2012 eye say

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Comments Are Aways Welcome 7 comments

hush4444 profile image

hush4444 4 years ago from Hawaii

You've done a wonderful thing by publishing this hub, since the unknown is so much scarier than what's known. Although normally I'd be a little squeamish about the photos, I actually found them fascinating. Great job on this valuable hub!

eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada Author

glad you found it useful and not offensive, I think the topic is bold, but the pics are really important for the curious ...

Marc Babineau profile image

Marc Babineau 4 years ago from Cornwall, Ontario, The Seaway City

Ewe! But, I have had a few removed in my time, and one was the scariest. It was like a screw-shaped ball, hard as metal! He couldn't cut it with a scalpel, and it was okay. I also had one that turned out to be squamis cell carcinoma, so it is always best to have the biopsied, for safety's sake! It's so much better to get them taken care of as early as possible...

eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada Author

interesting to hear that they do come in different shapes and densities, ewe is right!

Fedor2288 4 years ago

I got one right above my knee and I was scared about what it was. Mine is about the size of a pea also. How long did the procedure take? Did it hurt? I'm 28 and never had any kind of surgery a side from stitches and a couple broken ankles. Thanks for the post

eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada Author

Fedor: took about 20 minutes in the doctors office. He gave me a few needles around the cyst area to freeze it, then I didn't feel a thing. It hurt a little a few hours later but not unbearable. Go get it done, not as big a deal as I thought it would be. Good luck.

Need of help 4 weeks ago

I am a nurse but unable to pay for the surgery..I have a saccryl pilonidal cyst. I need to be out of work for 3months on healing...any help will do....

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