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Cyst (Cysts)

Cyst Overview

A cyst is an abnormal, sac-like structure that can be found anywhere in the body. Cysts usually contain a gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substance and have an outer wall, known as the capsule. Cysts may be small and visible only under a microscope, or they may grow to a very large size and displace normal body structures.

Cysts occur commonly in numerous tissues and organs and are often named according to their particular anatomic location (for example ovarian cysts, bladder cysts, breast cysts, liver cysts, kidney cysts, pancreatic cysts, vaginal cysts, skin cysts, thyroid cysts). Certain types of cysts also have special designations and nomenclature. Examples of these include:

  • Ganglion cyst: a cyst around a tendon, most commonly occurring at the wrist
  • Baker's cyst: a cyst containing joint fluid that is located in popliteal space behind the knee
  • Bartholin's cyst: cystic enlargement of small glands near the vaginal opening
  • Nabothian cyst: a mucus-filled cyst on the surface of the uterine cervix
  • Pilonidal cysts: cysts that arise in the soft tissue at the base of the tailbone (coccyx) of the lower back, just above the natal cleft (the cleavage between the buttocks
  • Dermoid cyst: a type of benign tumor of the ovary that contains multiple cystic spaces and various tissue types
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/28/2014
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Simple Bone Cyst »

The simple bone cyst is a common, benign, fluid-containing lesion, usually occurring in the metaphysis of long bones.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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