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Ultrasound revealed a cyst on an infant's calf above basal membrane. How can this be treated?

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My daughter is 18 months old and yesterday she had an ultrasound exam of a "cyst" she has in her upper third part on the back of her calf. The exam descrided the cyst as follows: dimensions 1,8x06x0,5cm, place: under the skin and above the basal mambrane, seems to have the same ultrasound image as fat (but a little bit darker), has clear borders and has arteries and veins.
What could it be and how should it be treated?
Posted Thu, 3 May 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Taher Kagalwala 53 minutes later

Thanks for posting your query.

Cystic swellings in the superficial area of the limbs could be either composed of fluid or fat in most cases, though some cysts can be more complex and may need further evaluation.

If this is a fluid-filled cyst, which it does not seem to be, the doctors could put in a needle and remove some of that fluid under the guidance of ultrasound and send it for examination by a pathological laboratory to determine the nature of the fluid. If it is like "fat" or similar, putting in a needle may not be advocated. In my opinion, the doctors may recommend studying the swelling further with a Computed Tomography (CT) scan or with a Magnetic Resolution Imaging (MRI) study. The latter study is safer and helps to delineate tissue characteristics better than a CT, which also exposes the baby to unnecessary and often harmful radiation.

Based on the results of the above tests (or any of these depending on the call taken by the investigating doctor), surgery may be advocated to remove the cyst, even if it is not causing any obvious harm as this may affect the child cosmetically or function-wise as she grows.

I hope, I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you have no follow up queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Ultrasound revealed a cyst on an infant's calf above basal membrane. How can this be treated? 1 hour later
Should the tests you mentioned be done anyhow or does the fact that the ultrasound showed clead blood circulation in the "cyst" gives some more information about the nature of it and subsequently the best way to proceed?
Thank you in advance
Answered by Dr. Taher Kagalwala 1 hour later

Thanks for writing back.

It appears to me that the cyst is not causing any major problems to your child such as pain or discomfort.

If that is the case, there is no urgency to do the tests, and you may defer the tests. However, if you wish, you could resolve the whole thing by going ahead and at least confirming the actual nature of the cyst. That would also help you to reduce your own anxiety.

If the scanning shows that the cyst is harmless, you may decide to act on it when the child is a little older.

I hope, this helps. Please accept my answer in case you have no follow up queries.

Wish your daughter speedy recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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