Trichilemmal Cysts

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Trichilemmal cysts (otherwise known as pillar cysts) are found on the hair follicle, usually on or around the scalp. They are very much infused with keratin, a protein found in all hair follicles. As a consequence, trichilemmal cysts can occur anywhere on your body where hair is found, although roughly 90% of trichilemmal cysts appear on your scalp (they can be found on the neck in quite a lot of cases too). Often trichilemmal cysts can feel tender, despite the fact these cysts have quite a smooth texture. Trichilemmal cysts are most common among middle-age women (not exclusively however!) and up to 10% of the population develops trichilemmal cysts at some point during their life. However, despite this statistic, they are not that prevalent because they are simply not that noticeable if they are small and concealed beneath hair. It has been thought there is a possibility that trichilemmal cysts are hereditary, although this has not been entirely proven.

Proliferating trichilemmal cysts

On rare occasions, these cysts can spread quite broadly and aggressively. These are known as proliferating trichilemmal cysts. Whilst these types of cyst grow very aggressively, it is nothing to worry about, as proliferating trichilemmal cysts are benign; only in extremely rare cases do trichilemmal cysts become cancerous.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Cysts of this kind can spontaneously rupture should they become keratinous. This can lead to irritation. While it may be a good precautionary measure to ask a doctor to diagnose a pillar cyst, you should be aware that treatment is nearly always unnecessary, unless the cyst happens to become painful or particularly irritating to you. If you opt for surgery, a number of procedures will be considered. Firstly, there is the incision method, which involves cutting into the cyst and draining its contents (i.e. the keratin). As an alternative, you may be prescribed oral antibiotics to cure an infected cyst. If need be, your doctor will surgically remove (or excise) your cyst completely.  

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