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Cysts on the skull
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Cysts on the skull

Dear Dr. Rockoff:

In the recent 1 year to 1 1/2 years, I have developed numerous cysts on my skull (about 5).  These cysts have formed almost symmetrically on both sides of top of the back of my skull (the crown I guess you would call it).  I searched the website, but I couldn't find anything specific to cysts on the skull.

I have consulted with my physician who says that cysts can be random or genetic.  I was adopted, so I don't know any biological medical history.  My physician stated that they are probably not cancerous (I don't know how you can tell just by feeling them) and do not need to be removed unless I request (i.e. if they irritate me or become painful).  My physician did remove another cyst off of my arm (near my wrist) last year... I believe they sent it to the lab and nothing bad was found.

Recently, 2 of the larger cysts on the crown of my skull have become irritable and a little larger.  I get these weird sensations through them... sometimes painful.  Sometimes it itches around them as well.  I am an extremely hygenic person, so I don't know what could be causing them.

My specific questions are the following:
(1) Is cyst removal from the skull something my family doctor should be doing?  He says that he can do it right in his office, but that kind of scares me seeing as how that is a delicate part of the body.  What kind of doctor specializes in cyst removal (tumor removal) and should I seek that kind of doctor's opinion?

(2) Cosmetics - Is there any special surgical technique that will prevent scarring, fattening-up of the surgical incision from removing these skull cysts (i.e. laser, ointments after surgery, whatever)?  From the last 2 skin growths I have had removed (a mole from my back and a cyst on my wrist), the healing of the incision kind of looks a bit nasty. The one on my back swelled up about a month after surgery w/ what looks like inflamed scar tissue or something... I don't know if that is because that is a place on the body where fat or scar tissue collects easily (it's around by left shoulder blade).  The cyst on my wrist didn't swell up, but it left a red, scarred area.  I am concerned about the cosmetics of removing cysts from my head because what happens if I go bald... then I have these disgusting scars on my skull?  Additionally, there are about 5 cysts on my skull that I would want to get removed... what could I do, cosmetically, to minimalize scarring and scar tissue build-up?

(3) Balding - in the past year, my hair seems to have begun to thin out around the cyst that bothers me the most.  I'm wondering if this cyst could be a cause of hair loss/balding in this area (i.e. does it cut off blood supply to the area).  I have always had a callic (where the hair spirals) on this part of the crown of my head, but it seems that when I brush my hair nowadays, it seems like a much larger bald spot.  The biggest cyst is right next to the callic.  Is the cyst a non-issue w/ regards to hair loss or could it be a factor?

(4) What causes cysts that I may be overlooking?  Hairspray, types of shampoos/conditioners?  I switch around my hair products every so often just to have variety.  I do use hair gel and hairspray, so I don't know how they factor in.  I have made a committment for the past 4-5 months to limit the amount of hairspray/gel I use just to see if that helped them to go away, but it didn't.  For instance, I went on a 7-week roadtrip this past summer and did not use gel/hairspray at all.  Additionally, I have been limiting the use of gel/hairspray to about 2-3 times a week.  What about diet?  My girlfriend is a vegetarian, which pretty much makes me a vegetarian, so I know that I don't get too much protein like I should.  I do eat a lot of tuna fish and tofu though as well as veggies.

FYI:  I'm 23 years old, 6'2", and 160lbs.

Thank you so much for your assistance.  I apologize for the long email, but I am just so baffled as to why I have gotten these skin defects in the past year... especially when I am so hygenic.

Sincerely,
Scott McRae
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Scott:

Cysts on the scalp are common; they are called pilar cysts.  Some people just get one, but if there are several, there may indeed be a genetic basis.  In any case, it doesn't matter, because these are unimportnat and benign  (and yes, you can tell that just by feeling them, because they are smooth and symmetrical.)

If they annoy you, get rid of them.  A doctor can pop them out inder local anesthesia right in the office.  If you want another opinion, try a dermatologist.

Scarring on the scalp is not an issue.  That area heals much bette than the back or wrist.  And by the way, your skull is not really a "delicate area."

Your hygiene, though admirable, is irrelevant.

If you don't mind my saying so, I think you are thinking way too much.  If the cysts bug you, get rid of them.  If not, keep them--they won't harm you in any way.  These things happen.  No bog deal.

Best.

Dr. R
5 Comments
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I have bumps on my skull around the end of the hair line and on the neck. They itch but are not painful. I have changed hair shampoo but it hasn't helped. I have had them for about three months. They don't seem to be getting worse but they also aren't going away! What in the world are they!!!!


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Avatar_n_tn
is there an over the counter cream for itchy red and inflamed
cyst? mine is giving me discomfort, it's located in the
vaginal and anus area. i cann't sit/walk or sleep w/out being
in discomfort. i've never had this befor untill recently.
i've had it looked at and the doc says its a genetic thing.
if it's a genetic thing wouldn't it happend befor instead of
three months ago?
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I used hair color recently to get rid of some gray hair.  The day after using the product, my scalp started to ooze pus.  The back of my neck has some bumps but they are dry.  The front of my head(where I used more of the product)is red and irritated. It's been this way for about 5 days.  

I'm not washing my hair this weekend to see if it will heal.  Washing seems to loosen the scabs and causes my scalp to ooze more.

Should I see a dermatologists or will this go away on its own.

Michelle
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Avatar_n_tn
I've had one for about 4 years and last week all the hair fell of it and a hole (kind of blackish)appeared in the middle of it.  It has also become quite painful at times.  What the heck is it?
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