Swellings, Lumps & Bumps

lumps and bumps

Nowadays, all lumps are perceived with dread. Many different types of lumps and swellings occur in the body, but only a fraction of them may be cause for alarm. However, it’s best to have them checked out by a doctor.

SEBACEOUS CYSTS

A sebaceous cyst is a small lump under the skin, most often found on the face, neck and torso, but which can occur in other parts of the body as well. This type of cyst is not cancerous. The sebaceous gland is an oil-producing gland that appears as a cyst or a lump when infected. Usually a sebaceous cyst grows very slowly and doesn’t cause pain.

It can become inflamed or infected, and causes redness, and soreness.

Causes

It’s mostly genetic, but can be caused by minor trauma or friction: like a cyst on the neck that rubs against a collar, or a small wound caused by acne or a scratch. It may also be caused by blocked glands or swollen hair follicles in the skin.

Treatment

Sebaceous cysts can be irritating and embarrassing, and even secrete cause a foul-smelling material. Sebaceous cysts are treated by draining the substance in them or by removing them surgically.

Surgery

Without surgical intervention, a sebaceous cyst is likely to recur. There are several surgical options:

A conventional wide excision: completely removes the cyst but can leave a scar.

Minimal excision: causes minimal scarring, but there is a high chance for recurrence.

Laser punch biopsy excision: a small hole is made with the help of a laser, so as to drain the cyst. The outer walls of the cyst are removed a month later.

Surgery is usually a day-care, out-patient procedure.

PILONIDAL SINUSES

A pilonidal sinus is a small perforation or tunnel in the skin that develops into a small cyst or abscess, usually at the beginning of the cleft of the buttocks. It contains hair, dirt, and debris. It can cause severe pain and can often become infected.

Causes

It may be a combination of changing hormones and/or hair growth, when the body identifies the hair as a foreign object and launches an immune response against it. The immune response forms a cyst around the hair. It can also be caused by activities that cause friction – like sitting for long periods or wearing clothes or belts that cause friction.

Symptoms

At first, a small, dimple-like depression may appear on the skin’s surface. Once the depression becomes infected, it quickly develops into a cyst – a closed sac filled with fluid or an abscess.

The signs of an infection include:

  • Swelling of the cyst
  • Pain when you sit or stand
  • Redness and soreness around the area
  • Blood or pus drainage from the cyst releasing a foul odour
  • Hair protruding from the lesion
  • The formation of more than one sinus tract or holes in the skin
  • Though uncommon, a low fever

Treatment

Our doctor will assess the severity of the case.

  • Antibiotics are recommended if there is pus but no abscess
  • Surgical treatment is recommended when there is an abscess
Incision and drainage

After administering a general anaesthetic, the surgeon makes an incision in the abscess to drain out the pus. The area is then dressed.

Excision

This involves removing the skin around the pilonidal sinus. The gap may be left open until it heals over naturally, or it may be closed with stitches and in some cases, it may be sealed with special fibrin glue. Post-surgery, seek medical advice if there is more pain, pus, fever or other concerns when you return home. Surgery will mean a 2-day hospital stay.

CORNS AND CALLUSES

Calluses and corns are caused by repeated pressure or friction on a particular area, causing the skin to die and form a hard surface. They most often develop on the feet and toes, or hands and fingers.

Corns are smaller than calluses and have a hard centre, surrounded by inflamed skin. Corns may be painful when pressed.

Soft Corns form in between the toes, and are softer because the sweat between the toes keeps them moist. Soft corns may sometimes become infected.

Calluses are rarely painful. They usually develop on the soles especially under the heels or balls of the feet, on the palms, or on the knees. Calluses vary in size and shape and are often larger than corns.

Symptoms

A thick, rough area of skin, or a hardened, raised bump or flaky, dry or waxy skin. May also be accompanied by tenderness or pain under the skin.

Treatment

Corns and calluses are generally not harmful. However, if a corn or callus becomes very painful or inflamed, see a doctor. Occasionally corns or calluses can become infected causing redness and soreness. Antibiotics may be prescribed in case of infection. If you are diabetic or suffer from conditions that cause poor blood flow to your feet, you’re at greater risk of complications and should definitely consult a doctor. Treatment and care will be based on the severity of symptoms.

Chemical Treatment

Medicated products work by chemically paring down the thickened, dead skin on corns and calluses. These products are gentle and safe for most people.

Surgery

If you have a recurring corn or callus on the foot or toe, surgery may be advised. A patient may return to wearing normal footwear after two weeks, once the stitches have been removed.

Trimming

The thickened skin of a corn or callus is pared down by a surgeon. Sometimes, regular trimming sessions are needed.