Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is a cyst?
- What are the causes of a cyst?
- What are the different types of cysts?
- What are cyst symptoms and signs, and how are cysts diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a cyst?
- Is prevention of cysts possible?
- What is the prognosis of cysts?
- Cysts At A Glance
What are the different types of cysts?
There are hundreds of different types of cysts that can arise in the body. Here are some of the more well-known types of cysts:
- Cysts in the breast which are part of benign proliferative ("fibrocystic") disease (fibrocystic breast disease)
- Ovarian cysts, including dermoid cysts, a specific type of ovarian tumor that often contains cysts and other tissues
- Cysts within the thyroid gland
- Baker cyst (popliteal) behind the knee
- Ganglion cysts of the joints and tendons
- Cysts of the glands within the eyelid, termed chalazions
- Sebaceous cysts of the small glands in the skin
- Epidermal cysts of the skin, sometimes known as epidermal inclusion cysts, that are frequently found on the face, scalp, neck, and trunk
- Bartholin cysts, enlargement of small glands near the vaginal opening
- Pineal cysts, cysts within the pineal gland of the brain
- Pancreatic cysts are collections of fluid within the pancreas. Some pancreatic cysts are true cysts that are lined by cells that secrete fluid. Other pancreatic cysts are pseudocysts and do not contain specialized lining cells.
- Polycystic kidney disease, an inherited condition in which the kidneys contain multiple cysts
- Tarlov cysts, also known as meningeal or perineural cysts, are located in the sacrum, the fused bones at the base of the spine.
- Infections and inflammation, such as abscesses and boils on the skin, can also be causes of cysts.
- Arachnoid cysts are located between the brain or spinal cord and the arachnoid membrane, one of the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
The majority of cysts are benign, but some may produce symptoms due to their size and/or location. Rarely, cysts can be associated with malignant tumors (cancers) or serious infections. If you're concerned about any abnormal swelling or lump, talk to your doctor. He or she can recommend appropriate diagnostic tests to determine whether a cyst is present and the cause of the cyst.
Viewers share their comments
- Submit »
Find out what women really need.