The treatment for a cyst depends on the type and location of the cyst. Skin cysts may be treated with warm compresses applied to the skin, or injections of corticosteroid medication. An infected skin cyst, or abscess, may require incision and drainage.
Some cysts, such as a ganglion cyst, do not require treatment. Cysts that interrupt normal function or present a risk to surrounding tissue may need to be removed surgically.
Treatment for cysts includes:
- Warm compresses
- Corticosteroid medication injections
- Surgery to remove a cyst
- Incision and drainage for an infected cyst
Incision and drainage includes:
- The skin is sterilized using rubbing alcohol or an antibacterial soap.
- A local anesthetic is injected into the tissues surrounding the abscess.
- An incision is made with a scalpel.
- Pus is drained from the abscess.
- The abscess cavity is flushed clean.
- In some cases, a rubber drain or a strip of sterile gauze is packed inside the abscess cavity.
- The gauze or drain placed inside the abscess cavity is usually removed 24-36 hours later.
For more information:
Continue to Cysts Home Care
- Kwittken J. Sebaceous cyst: fact, not fiction. Int J Dermatol. 1994 Mar;33(3):218-9. 
- Nakamura M. Treating a sebaceous cyst: an incisional technique. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2001 Jan-Feb;25(1):52-6. 
- Thaller SR, Bauer BS. Cysts and cyst-like lesions of the skin and subcutaneous tissue. Clin Plast Surg. 1987 Apr;14(2):327-40.