How to Lance a Cyst with no Head, Bartholin’s, Sebaceous & Pilonidal

If you are suffering from nasty cysts be it sebaceous, Bartholin’s  or pilonidal then you definitely want to know how you drain it especially at home. Read on to find out more

What does it mean to lance/Drain a cyst?

Cysts are sac-like structures that may be filled with gas, liquid(pus), or sometimes semi-solid materials. Lancing a cyst refers to the process of draining pus from a cyst. This is especially in the case where the pus has accumulated.  [1] It is a minor surgical procedure.

How to drain lance a cyst
Cyst lancing

What do you need to for the lancing procedure?

To lance the cyst, you will require the following;

Items on sterile drape covering a May stand

  • Fenestrated disposable drape
  • 3 small-tipped hemostats
  • Sterile gloves
  • For anchoring the drape, you need 2 sterile bandages
  • If need be, Needle holder (for suturing)
  • Blade number 11
  • Iris scissors
  • Splatter control shield if need be
  • 2 inch 4 by 4 sterile gauze
  • Adson forceps

Items on nonsterile tray (for Anesthesia)

  • Non sterile mask and gloves 1 inch 4 by 4 gauze
  • To anesthetize beneath the cyst, you need twenty five-gauge and one and a quarter inch needle
  • 1 inch 4 by 4 gauze (to be soaked with povidone-iodine solution)
  • 2 percent lidocaine, and xylocaine with epinephrine all filled into a 5-ml syringe with a needle (30 gauge)

How to

Lancing sebaceous cyst

Sebaceous cysts are cysts that are commonly found on the hair growing areas on your body. Most commonly, these cysts are found on the chest, head and neck. They are associated with the sebaceous gland duct obstruction.

The cyst can go away on its own but when it causes extreme discomfort, the procedure below will be helpful;


  1. Using povidone-iodine solution, the provider will cleanse the skin on the site where the sebaceous cyst has formed. Your tissues beneath and on the sides of the cyst as well as the skin that overlies the cyst are anesthetized with two percent lidocaine and epinephrine.
  2. With lesions beneath the fenestration, you will have a fenestrated drape placed on your skin. A stab incision is made in the center of your cyst using a No. 11 blade.
  3. The provider places a small-tipped hemostat into your cyst. The tips open gently and compression is applied so as to let the contents of the cyst to get out through the opening.
  4. You will then have the hemostat removed. This is so that thumbs can be used to express the contents of the cyst. The provider will shield himself from splatter using a splatter shield or gauze. To make passage of the sebaceous material easier, you should have the hemostat reinserted.
  5. After thorough and complete expression, the hemostat is introduced back into the cavity of the cyst. The capsule located at the wound’s base is elevated and grasped. Your physician should try to take away the whole sac through the opening.
  6. In case the sac breaks, some pieces may be left and you must ensure that they are all removed.
  7. An inspection on the wound should be done when the procedure is completed. This is so as to ensure that all the walls of the cyst are removed. If there is no certainty yet that the whole cyst walls have been removed, the pieces can be assembled for assurance.
  8. Using gauze, application of direct pressure is done. It is advisable that an antibiotic ointment is applied followed by taping the site using gauze.
  9. You are advised to continue applying pressure on the site for two hours using gauze after completing the procedure. You should also note that, if the incisions made were small, you will not need suture closure.[2]

Lancing pilonidal cyst

Pilonidal cysts are cysts which occur when the skin is punctured and the hair becomes embedded. When the cyst is infected, it can be drained through a minor surgery or a small incision.


  1. Firstly, the provider uses a local anesthesia to numb the affected area
  2. Using a sharp knife, a small cut is made into the abscess. This is done so as to drain the pus in the abscess. Your provider will also remove any debris or hair in the affected area.
  3. For safety from other infections, your abscess will be filled with a sterile gauze[3]

Draining a Bartholin’s Cyst at Home

Bartholin’s cysts usually form in  the women’s genitalia. These cysts form as a result of blockage of the openings of the bartholin’s glands which are located on each side of the vaginal opening.

Physicians  recommend that you let bartholin’s cyst heal on its own if it does not disturb you. On the other hand, see a general practitioner if it comes with a lot of pain, an infection or any other serious symptom. Following are ways to make this cyst drain at home

Soaking in warm water

Soak the cyst for 10 to 15 minutes in a few inches of warm water . Repeat it  several times a day for 3 to 4 days if possible.  The warm water ease discomfort, help rupture and drain the cyst efficiently.

Health practitioners call this procedure sitz baths. These baths are usually meant to help clean and relieve pain in your bottom or around your private parts.

drain bartholin cyst at home-sitz bath
Sitz bath

Warm Compress

Warm compresses work just like sitz baths. All you need  is a towel, or cotton wool warmed with hot water. Hold the warmed material against the affected area several times a day for a few days. The cyst will eventually rupture and drain on its own.

 Cyst with no Head

Cysts with no head are those cysts found deep in the skin. They are very difficult to drain due to the absence of the head. The following ways will be helpful when draining such cysts;

Warm compress

When it comes to cysts without the head, warm compress is one of the best ways to drain the cyst.


  1. In order to make a warm compress, take a cotton ball and place it in hot water
  2. Get rid of the excess water by squeezing the cotton ball
  3. Press the cotton ball on the affected area for some few minutes
  4. You are required to repeat the process until the head appears so that you can easily drain the cyst

Topical creams

When used correctly, topical creams can be depended on in treatment of cysts with no head. Most of the creams have anti-inflammatory properties which calm the skin down allowing the cyst to drain slowly until it completely heals.

The two best options are the creams containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These two clear the bacteria that causes and worsens the condition of the cysts. Ensure you follow the directions that are stated in the creams.

Honey remedy

The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties in honey help heal the cyst that is deep into the skin. Honey helps fight the bacteria which is clogging the area with the cyst. If you apply the honey on the affected area several times in a week, the cyst will be drained.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This oil reduces swelling and hence it fights the bacteria causing the cyst. You are required to make a mixture of eight drops of water and just a drop of tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil for cyst lancing
Tea tree oil

You are also advised to use a carrier oil in the place of water. You can as well dilute aloe vera extract and tea tree oil. After applying this mixture on the affected area with a cotton ball, rinse the area with warm water and apply a topical cream (antibacterial cream).

Sebaceous Cyst Draining on its own

You should not be surprised if a cyst begins to drain on its own. This is a usual occurrence if you are among the people who are lucky enough not to have to see a doctor for cyst removal. However, when the cyst drains on its own, you will need to keep an eye on it up to the point it completely heals. This is so as to note any unusual changes.

Some of the changes you may start to see include greenish pus, emission of a smell, or fever. In such a case, even if the cyst has drained on its own, you must see your doctor as soon as possible.

One of the measures you need to take if the cyst is painful but has drained on its own is that you buy over the counter pain remedies as long as you are not allergic to the drugs. The suggested drugs are acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Even that, you should only take this step if you do not note any of the unusual changes mentioned. [4]

Sebaceous Cyst Removal Cost

In most cases, removal of sebaceous cyst will require you to spend some money. You will however realize that the price varies depending on a number of factors. Some of the factors are discussed below;

Location of the patient

Depending on which city you seek treatment, you will pay a different price for removal of sebaceous cyst. In other words, where you go determines how much you pay.

Condition of the cyst

How bad is your cyst? That is one of the questions the physician will need to ask himself before determining how much you have to pay. Signs such as inflammation will require that the physician first subjects the cyst to autopsy, then drainage and finally treatment. The more complex your cyst condition is the more you pay.

Age and health state of the patient

In the case of a child aged between 5 and 7, there is need for general anesthesia. The price of treating a sebaceous cyst in the case of an adult will cost differently when compared to a child. That aside, your health condition, that is, whether you have other health complications, will also call for extra measures and as such an increased charge.

Size of sebaceous cyst

When a cyst is very small, it involves lesser procedures and so the cost is equally small. When the cyst is large, the price will increase since there is need for more preparation.

Type, category and level of medical institution

When the medical institution is owned by the state, most of the procedures are done at no cost. You will only need to pay for some specific tests and drugs.

When it comes to commercial medical institutions, all services are done at a cost and as such, some people will shy away from such institutions. Prices in the commercial medical institution will now vary depending on the factors discussed above such as the size of the cyst, and how complicated the cyst is. [5]

Average cost

As reported by David Hansen, a Dermatologic Surgeon in Beverly Hills, the cost of the cyst removal is charged differently from the cost of initial visit.  While the cost of cyst removal is roughly $175 to $350, the cost of initial visit is approximately $ 85. [6]

Typically, a small cyst removal will require a charge of about $200. However, you should keep in mind that in this case, lab and consultation attract a separate charge. [7]

Sources & References








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