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Painful cyst on the scalp. Is this a pilar cyst?

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Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1978

Answered : 6704 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 10 Jul 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Question: I have a large cyst on my scalp that is hot to the touch and throbbing. I have had a cyst for years and it has never hurt. It is extremely painful and I am afraid it will burst. Should I go to the ER? I believe it is a Pillar Cyst. So painful hurts to the touch.
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Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 44 minutes later
Hello and thanks for the query.
  the most common types of cysts that grow in the hairy portions of the body are generally sebaceous cyst (or pilar cyst).
A sebaceous cyst is an enclosed sac that is filled with oil or cheesy like material. Usually, this is accompanied by a smelly scalp because of the keratin that is present inside the cyst. This keratin is actually a protein which is responsible for the formation of sac of cells. 
When these cysts on scalp become infected, it can be painful. The area of the scalp where the cyst is can become red, tender, sore, warm, and painful. These are the typical signs of infection.
 If you will try to squeeze or drain the cyst, it will just increase the risk of infection.
You must consult a surgeon and get the surgical removal of the cyst.
I hope to have answered your query however you may revert to me for any further query.
Thanks and best of luck

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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