A cyst on the back of the neck, head, including the upper back, are sebaceous cysts that occur beneath the surface of skin. Learn more about their causes, symptoms, and treatment through this article.
A cyst is an abnormal growth of the tissue that can be present on any body part. It is seen in people of all age groups. It is filled with gas, fluid, or semisolid substance, and there are 100 different types that vary in color, size, location on the body, and their causes and symptoms. Though most of them are visible only through a microscope, many types on the back grow visibly large to form an embarrassing lump. This article elaborates about the cyst on the back. A baker cyst can occur behind the knee and is often accompanied by pain and tenderness.
- Genetic (inherited) conditions
- Swelling of the hair follicles
- Localized swelling of the affected area
- Fluid build-up due to blocked ducts
- Trauma or injury that affects the blood vessel
- Malfunction of certain glands
- Chronic inflammatory conditions
- Redness and tenderness
- Increased temperature over the lump
- Pain due to infection
- Difficulty in bending the knee
- Foul-smelling, whitish-yellow material during drainage
Types and Treatments
There are many types of cysts, like ovarian, baker, ganglion, sebaceous, epidermal, pancreatic, pineal, etc., and most are found in the internal organs. But the ones that appear on the external part of the body beneath the skin surface are of the following types:
They are lumps that appear under the skin and contain material inside known as sebum. Also known as trichilemmal and epidermal, this type is benign and usually painless, unless in case of an infection. Epidermoid and pilar are two common types occurring beneath the skin surface. The former are found as lumps on the uppermost layer of the skin known as epidermis, whereas the latter are found at the hair follicles. Though the exact cause varies from person to person, the ones on the scalp and behind the ears are said to be a result of over production of oils by glands. When the gland is unable to meet the demand in releasing these oils, it results in cyst formation. They appear on the body in the following places.
- Upper Back
Since they occur beneath the skin, there are several treatment options available. Some even disappear without medication, while some can be treated with antibiotics. The removal procedure is done through drainage, incision, but total or partial excision are sometimes required due to the size and in case of recurrent cysts. The latest form is through laser, which does not require any surgery, but is not always advisable for cysts on head.
They are named after the British surgeon, Dr. William Morrant Baker. Also known as the popliteal cyst, it occurs on the back of the knee and is identified by swelling due to the accumulation of fluid. Though it is painless when one is in a seated position, it is extremely painful in seated or in walking position. Its most common causes are arthritis and tear in cartilage. The bulge becomes easily noticeable on standing, and trauma could lead to a rupture, that further leads to the swelling of the whole leg.
The treatment involves either physical therapy, like icing, cold compress, or drainage, and medication for cyst removal. A needle aspiration would generally be performed to remove the fluid, followed by antibiotics and steroid injections to ease the pain.
They occur at the cleft of buttocks and are also referred to as pilonidal abscess. They contain the debris of skin and hair, and are common among men than the women. In rare situations, they reach the spinal cord leading to severe pain in the lower back. The best home care for this type is to prevent infection, and the abscess is to keep the area dry and clean and by regular hair removal.
An incision or a drainage is required in case of an abscess, which is a short procedure that can be carried out in any outpatient facility by a physician. The drainage involves removing the hair and debris. Antibiotics are prescribed by the physician for the rapid healing of the wound and to prevent infection. But if the cyst is recurrent, then it requires more invasive surgery depending on its severity.
Most of the cysts on the back are painless, so people often tend to ignore the lump if it is small in size. It is always advisable to check with an experienced practitioner in case of any new and abnormal growth that you notice on your body. Though most of them are not cancerous, the doctor should examine for any possible signs of cancer or any other underlying cause.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.