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Have large sebaceous cyst on back. Skin started turning red with cheesy discharge. Worrisome

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Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1390 Questions
Hi. I have had a large sebaceous cyst on my back for 3 years now that has caused no trouble. A week ago, the skin covering the cyst started to to turn red, and tonight it started to rupture. The material coming out of it is of a cheesy consistency and not "pus"-like. Is this an emergency (because of the risk of infection), or can I wait to go to the doctor until tomorrow morning?
Posted Sat, 11 May 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Sudarshan 1 hour later
Thanks for writing in.
If the material coming out is cheesy and not pus like,you can wait till is not emergency.
But if there are any signs of inflammation like pain redness and the discharge is pus like..then you should visit the doctor.
From your description it looks like it is content of cyst and not pus.
So you can wait till tomorrow morning.

I will be available for follow up questions.

Dr Sudarshan
M D Dermatology
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have large sebaceous cyst on back. Skin started turning red with cheesy discharge. Worrisome 5 minutes later
Thank you for your answer! The skin over the cyst is red, and it is a bit tender, but not too much. The material coming out is definitely cheesy and not pus-like, but it smelled bad. So, waiting til morning is ok?
Also, when i was squeezing the stuff out (which i stopped doing because i thought i should not), it did not hurt... I guess I'm trying to say it was not tender or painful when i applied pressure to it.
Answered by Dr. Sudarshan 4 hours later
Hi Again,
Foul smelling ,cheesy discharge is common from sebaceous cyst ,it does not indicate infection you can wait till you see your doctor.Then you can get it removed completely by excision to avoid recurrence of the problem.
Hope this helps.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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