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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19441
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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i have a cyst on my shoulder blade, it appeard 3 yrs ago as

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i have a cyst on my shoulder blade, it appeard 3 yrs ago as a small lump with a white head, my daughter sqeezed it out and i was left with a lump under the skin about the size of a 5p, never painful. A week ago it became very tender, so i went to the doctors and was told i had an infection and given flucloxacillin 500mg "once a day" and it has since grown to the size of half a wallnut,very red with white heads, to painful to be touched by anything,even cotton. what can i do,as everyday i can see it growing and geting more painful. thanks Barbarann, age 61
Thank you for using JustAnswer. This sounds like an infected sebaceous cyst.

A sebaceous cyst is a very common lump that can develop in the skin. The name is XXXXX XXXXX on an original conception of the white material in the cyst. It is not sebaceous material (a secretion of a particular type of sweat gland), but rather keratin, a normal component of the skin surface that usually sloughs off the skin, but in these cysts is trapped.

The simple presence of a sebaceous cyst is not a problem, although it can be very irritating if it is in certain locations. Removing the white material, as was done by your daughter, will typically only provide temporary relief, as the cyst is still present and will refill with the white material.

However, a sebaceous cyst can become infected, and then will be painful, red, swollen, and quite tender. At this point, the cyst may be filled with a mixture of the usual white material and pus, and if there is a greater amount of pus, it will need to be drained. Antibiotics will frequently not penetrate collections of pus, regardless of location on the body, so drainage may be necessary.

As for whether this can be done at home would depend upon what tools you have at home and what level of pain can be tolerated. In an office setting, we would prep/sterilize the skin (even though it is already infected), numb the skin, and then incise the cyst with a sterile scalpel blade. It usually needs to be a larger hole than can be made with a simple point, such as a needle. A larger hole also minimizes the squeezing that may be done to extrude the infected material. Even if you have the tools, it may be very painful to do at home given your description of the amount of tenderness. Consequently, this is something that your doctor would typically do.

After the infection is cleared, then there can be a decision of whether to surgically remove the uninfected sebaceous cyst. This is also an office procedure, and the decision does not need to be made immediately.

If you have any further questions or need clarification, please let me know.

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