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Sebaceous Cyst, Infected [Incision & Drainage]

A Sebaceous Cyst occurs when the opening of an oil gland in the skin becomes blocked. The gland swells with skin oil and dead skin cells. As it gets bigger, it appears as a small painless lump under the skin. Your cyst has become infected. Because there was a lot of pus inside the cyst, the cyst had to be opened and drained.

A gauze packing may have been inserted in the cyst cavity. This will need to be removed as described below. Once the pus is drained, antibiotics are not required unless the infection is spreading into the skin around the wound (known as “cellulitis”). Healing of the wound will take about one to two weeks depending on the size of the abscess.

Home Care:

  • The wound may drain for the first two days. Cover the opening with a clean dry bandage. If the dressing becomes soaked with blood or pus, change it.

  • If a gauze packing was placed inside the opening of the cyst, you may be advised to remove it yourself. You may do this in the shower. Once the packing is removed, you should wash the area carefully in the shower once a day, until the skin opening has closed. This could take up to five days depending on the size of the cyst. It is good to direct the shower spray directly into the opening if this is not too painful.

  • If you were prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed until they are all gone.

  • You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. [ NOTE : If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.]


Once this infection has healed, observe the following to reduce the risk of future infections:

  • Keep the opening of the cyst clean by bathing or showering daily.

  • Avoid tight fitting clothing in the area of the cyst.

  • Be alert for signs of infection listed below so that treatment may be started early.

Follow Up

with your doctor as advised by our staff. If a gauze packing was inserted in your wound, it should be removed in 1-2 days. Check your wound every day for the signs listed below.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Pus continues to come from the cyst two days after the incision and drainage

  • Increasing redness around the wound.

  • Increasing local pain or swelling

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider


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