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A cyst is a closed sac, having a distinct envelope and division compared with the nearby tissue. Hence, it is a cluster of cells that have grouped together to form a sac (like the manner in which water molecules group together to form a bubble); however, the distinguishing aspect of a cyst is that the cells forming the "shell" of such a sac are distinctly abnormal (in both appearance and behaviour) when compared with all surrounding cells for that given location. A cyst may contain air, fluids, or semi-solid material. A collection of pus is called an abscess, not a cyst. Once formed, a cyst may resolve on its own. When a cyst fails to resolve, it may need to be removed surgically, but that would depend upon its type and location.


Cancer-related cysts are formed as a defense mechanism for the body following the development of mutations that lead to an uncontrolled cellular division. Once that mutation has occurred, the affected cells divide incessantly and become cancerous, forming a tumor. The body encapsulates those cells to try to prevent them from continuing their division and contain the tumor, which becomes known as a cyst. That said, the cancerous cells still may mutate further and gain the ability to form their own blood vessels, from which they receive nourishment before being contained. Once that happens, the capsule becomes useless, and the tumor may advance from benign to cancerous.

Some cysts are neoplastic, and thus are called cystic tumors. Many types of cysts are not neoplastic, they are dysplastic or metaplastic. Pseudocysts are similar to cysts in that they have a sac filled with fluid, but lack an epithelial lining.

Despite being described in 1938 as "the microscopic appearance of cysts in the pancreas",[16] cystic fibrosis is an example of a genetic disorder whose name is related to fibrosis of the cystic duct (which serves the gallbladder) and does not involve cysts.[17]

This is just one example of how the Greek root cyst-, which simply means a fluid-filled sac, also is found in medical terms that relate to the urinary bladder and the gallbladder, neither of which involve cysts.

Cysts may form within any tissue in the body. Most cysts in the lungs are filled with air. Cysts that form in the lymph system or kidneys are fluid-filled. Certain parasites, such as some types of roundworms and tapeworms, can form cysts within the muscles, liver, brain, lungs, and eyes.

Cysts are common on the skin. They can develop when acne causes a sebaceous gland to clog, or they can form around something that is stuck in the skin. These cysts are not cancer (benign), but can cause pain and changes in appearance. At times, they can become infected and need treatment due to pain and swelling.

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Epidermal nevi, neoplasms, and cysts. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach, MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 29.

Pilonidal cysts usually occur when hair punctures the skin and then becomes embedded. If a pilonidal cyst becomes infected, it can be very painful. The cyst can be drained through a small cut in the skin. Sometimes, surgery is needed.

Some people have pilonidal cysts that become infected again and again over a long time. Without treatment, these people may be at increased risk of a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

For example, ovarian cysts, such as those that result from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), may cause problems with ovarian and reproductive function. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD), which causes cysts to form in the kidney, can adversely affect kidney function.

Chronic infections in these cysts might increase your risk of a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. If you have these chronic infections, learn the symptoms of skin cancer so it can be treated early.

Very small eyelid glands, known as meibomian glands, make a lubricant that comes out of tiny openings in the edges of the eyelids. Cysts can form here if the ducts are blocked. These are known as chalazion cysts.

Sometimes, a doctor can drain, or aspirate, the cyst by inserting a needle or catheter into the cavity. If the cyst is not easily accessible, they may use radiologic imaging to accurately guide the needle or catheter.

A healthcare professional may examine the removed liquid under a microscope to determine whether or not any cancerous cells are present. If they suspect that the cyst is cancerous, they may suggest surgical removal, order a biopsy of the cyst wall, or both.

Some cysts develop as a result of a chronic or underlying medical condition, as may be the case with fibrocystic breast disease or polycystic ovary syndrome. In such cases, the focus of the treatment will be on the medical condition itself, not the cyst.

But sometimes ovarian cysts can become twisted or burst open (rupture). This can cause serious symptoms. To protect your health, get regular pelvic exams and know the symptoms that can signal what might be a serious problem.

Dermoid cysts and cystadenomas can become large and move the ovary out of position. This increases the chance of painful twisting of the ovary, called ovarian torsion. Ovarian torsion may reduce or stop blood flow to the ovary.

If the egg is fertilized, the egg and sperm unite to form a one-celled entity called a zygote. As the zygote travels down the fallopian tube toward the uterus, it begins dividing rapidly to form a cluster of cells called a blastocyst, which resembles a tiny raspberry. When the blastocyst reaches the uterus, it implants in the lining of the uterus and pregnancy begins.

There's no way to prevent most ovarian cysts. But, regular pelvic exams help ensure that changes in your ovaries are diagnosed as early as possible. Be alert to changes in your monthly cycle. Make a note of unusual menstrual symptoms, especially ones that go on for more than a few cycles. Talk to your health care provider about changes that concern you.

In all patients, complete resection of the bronchogenic cyst was performed by thoracotomy. A postoperative sequela occurred in only 1 patient, who had a persistent air leak. There were no late sequelae, nor was there a recurrence of the cyst. The follow-up period ranged from 8 months to 12 years (mean, 5.2 years).

Complications of bronchogenic cysts occurred in 10 patients (45%). In 1 patient (Patient 13), a ruptured, infected, parenchymal, bronchogenic cyst caused pleuritis and pneumothorax (Fig. 1). Three patients with intrapulmonary bronchogenic cyst presented with purulent sputum. A 21-year-old patient (Patient 12), who presented with severe hemoptysis, had a fistula between a bronchogenic cyst and the left upper bronchus. Esophageal compression resulting in dysphagia occurred in 1 patient. Compression of bronchus was seen in 4 patients. In 1 of these patients (Patient 6), a cyst, which originated from the right main bronchus, compressed the left main bronchus. Postobstructive pneumonia developed in 3 patients.

Standard chest radiographs revealed the cyst in 18 patients (82%). The 4 cysts not so revealed lay beneath the tracheal carina. Most of the cysts presented as homogeneous water-density shadows. There were 4 patients with hyperexpanded lungs, 3 with atelectasis, 2 with hydropneumothorax, and 2 with air-fluid levels that were apparent upon plain radiography. Barium swallows performed in 3 patients showed slight indentation of the esophageal image in 2 of the 3. Computed tomography (CT) was performed in 12 patients. The radiographic characteristics of the bronchogenic cyst were those of a round, well circumscribed, unilocular or multilocular mass, with density ranging from that of water to high density.

Complications of bronchogenic cyst are frequent (45% in our series). Most of the complications result from compression of adjacent structures. Infection is a common complication, especially in cysts with bronchial communications. The cyst can rupture into the trachea, the pericardial cavity, or the pleural cavity, 6 as it did in one of our patients. Pneumothorax is not a rare complication 2,6 and is usually accompanied by pleuritis. Severe hemoptysis is rarely reported. 6,9

Chest radiographs and CT scans are the most valuable diagnostic studies. Bronchogenic cysts appear as spherical or oval masses with smooth outlines and are usually unilocular and noncalcified. 5,6 Computed tomography is valuable in demonstrating the size and shape of the cyst and in determining its position in relation to other structures. The fluid in these cysts has an average CT density of 0 Hounsfield units. 5,6 Bronchogenic cysts can in fact mimic hydatid cysts. However, the CT density reading may be higher, comparable to that of soft tissue, which can create other problems in diagnosis. 3 Also, the cysts may have an air/fluid level that is visible upon radiography. Occasionally, pneumonitis, pneumothorax, or empyema is apparent, as in our series.

The differential diagnosis of the parenchymal form includes lung abscess, hydatidosis, fungal disease, tuberculosis, infected bullas, vascular malformations, and neoplasms. 6 Because hydatid cysts are common in our region, hydatidosis is to us the most important differential diagnosis. Despite the value of various noninvasive diagnostic studies, definitive diagnosis is established only by surgical excision and tissue biopsy. We think that early surgical intervention is needed for precisely that reason.

In some cases, a pilonidal cyst can be hereditary (you can inherit it from a family member). Your family history can play a role in determining if you get pilonidal cysts, for example if rough body hair runs in your family.

Pilonidal cysts can sometimes be cured with surgery and your skin might heal fully. However, even after surgery, a pilonidal cyst can remain as a chronic, returning condition. This is true especially if the condition has gotten worse or if pilonidal cysts run in your family. 041b061a72

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