A cyst is a closed sac having a distinct membrane and developing abnormally in a cavity or structure of the body.

Cysts may occur as a result of a developmental error in the embryo during pregnancy or they may be caused by infections. Cysts may also arise spontaneously with no apparent cause.

Cysts may contain air, fluids, or semi-solid material. A collection of pus is called an abscess, not a cyst.

Cysts can occur anywhere in the body.

Common types of cyst

  • Bronchial cyst (in the airways)
  • Dentigerous Cyst (associated with the crowns of non-erupted teeth)
  • Ganglion cyst (hand/foot joints and tendons)
  • Glial Cyst (in the brain)
  • Gartner's Cyst (in vagina and will never show up on an embryology exam)
  • Keratocyst (in the jaws, these can appear solitary or associated with the Gorlin-Goltz or Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome. The latest World Health Organization classification considers Keratocysts as tumours rather than cysts)
  • Nabothian cyst (cervix)
  • Ovarian cyst (ovaries, functional and pathological)
  • Paratubal cyst (fallopian tube)
  • Pilonidal cyst (skin infection near tailbone)
  • Renal cyst (kidneys)
  • Radicular cyst (associated with the roots of non-vital teeth)
  • Sebaceous cyst (sac below skin)
  • Tarlov cyst (spine)
  • Vocal fold cyst
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