How to Pop a Cyst

Sebaceous or ganglion cysts are usually painless but they could grow big and even become infected. When this happens, you may want to know how to pop a cyst and get instant relief. Several cyst popping videos have been posted on this website. But they are strictly for information and entertainment. You should not attempt any form of cyst popping at home without seeking medical help first. While popping a cyst by yourself, you could get the skin in the affected area infected and cause a lot of blood and pus to accumulate at the affected spot. Here are some details on how to pop a cyst safely and securely with the appropriate medical equipment and procedures.

Preparation for Cyst Popping

First, you need to be certain that the swelling or lump is a cyst. If it is a cyst, it will be white, yellow or flesh colored. However, it may turn red if it has become inflamed or infected. The lump will be firm and easy to move with your finger but it may become painful if it has been or injured. A cyst is usually the size of a peanut although it may gradually grow bigger or smaller. Before popping the cyst, ensure that you have all the required equipment and ensure that the patient will be comfortable throughout the duration of the exercise. 

Equipment and Materials Needed for Popping a Cyst

The following items should be placed on a tray that will be used to administer anesthesia and to disinfect the cyst and its surroundings: 

  • 1 1/4 inch needle, 25-gauge (for applying anesthesia below the cyst).
  • 30 gauge needle with 5ml syringe that is filled with a 2% lidocaine with epinephrine.
  • 1 inch of 4×4 gauze already soaked with solution of povidone-iodine.
  • These other items should be placed on a sterile tray.
  • Sterile gloves.
  • 2 in. of 4×4 sterile gauze.
  • Adson forceps.
  • Iris scissors.
  • No. 11 blade.
  • Three hemostats with small tips.
  • Two sterile bandages to anchor the drape.
  • Splatter control shield.

Basic Procedure for Popping a Cyst

Successful cyst popping has been accomplished by medical personnel with a technique known as minimal excision. It is involves creating an incision of about 3mm on the skin, expressing the contents of the cyst, and then removing the cyst wall through the opening created by the incision. Here is an outline of the basic steps involved in popping a cyst with this method:

  • Cleaning and Application of Anesthesia: Use povidone-iodine to cleanse the skin on the cyst and its surroundings. Then apply the anesthesia on the skin directly above the cyst, then on the tissues around and below the cyst using 2% lidocaine.
  • Incision and Opening of the Cyst: Create a stab incision at the middle of the cyst with the no. 11 blade. Place the small-tipped hemostat into the cyst with the tips gently opened then squeeze the cyst to enable its contents to come out through the opening.
  • Expression of Cyst Contents: Take out the hemostat and use both thumbs to press the cyst and remove its contents. The contents suddenly spray out under pressure. So a splatter control shield may be used to prevent the contents from landing on the bodies of the patient and the person popping the cyst. If necessary, the hemostat can be inserted into the opening again to aid the removal of the sebaceous content.
  • Removal of the Cyst Wall: After expressing all the contents of the cyst, re-insert the hemostat and pick up the capsule at the base of the of the opening. Shake out the cyst from the wall of the cavity and gently pull it up so that it comes out without breaking.
  • Inspection and Disinfection of the Wound: Inspect the wound carefully to be sure that the entire cyst wall has been taken out. If the wall breaks during removal, ensure that every piece has been taken out. Then apply antibiotic ointment or spray on the opening and surrounding areas of the skin. Cover the site with gauze and put direct pressure on the site for about 1 hour so the skin at the incision can close up and heal faster.

Precautions and Warnings

To ensure that the entire cyst is removed without complications, infection or recurrence, pay attention to the following precautions and warnings:

  • Ensure that all the contents of the cyst are removed with sufficient pressure: This minimal excision technique requires more physical effort than the use of full surgery. So be prepared to exert a considerable amount of physical effort. Use the two thumbs to express the cyst and to knead the tissues around it before you re-insert the hemostats to remove the cyst sac.
  • Apply adequate pressure with the thumbs before removing the sac: In some cases, the cyst may have been inflamed or ruptured before attempting to remove it. This may lead to scarring and it could prevent easy removal of the cyst wall. Hence, pressure should be applied on all the surrounding tissues so that the cyst capsule will come out without the need for a full excision or surgery.
  • Beware of the variations in the thickness of the cyst wall: Cysts on the scalp are usually thicker than those on the face. So the cysts on the scalp are more likely to come out intact. Cysts with thin sacs tend to break and they need to be removed in bits and pieces. But by using the thumbs to effectively massage the area around the cyst, most cysts can be taken out in one piece.
  • Prevent infection and formation of large blood clots: If the cyst removed is fairly big, it may leave a considerably large opening under the skin surface. There is a risk of infectious material or blood clots filling up this space. To prevent these two occurrences, the wound and surrounding skin should be sprayed with antibiotics, then covered with gauze and bandage. The patient should apply adequate pressure to the wound to ensure that blood does not clot at the site of the incision.


The procedure provided here on how to pop a cyst is strictly for informational purposes. This also applies to the cyst popping videos posted on this website. It is very important to consult your doctor or healthcare provider about any lump or growth on any part of your body. You should visit your physician before you treat any abnormal skin condition.

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