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Date of last update: 8/19/2017.

Forum Name: Surgery Topics

Question: Lump on back of neck please help

 Zig - Sat Dec 24, 2005 9:17 pm

I’m a 30 year old male

Med history had tonsils removed at 8 years old and adenoids

Bad back injury 5 years ago L5 S1 inflamed

I call them cold sores but there is another name for it (only show up inside mouth) some times they show up for no reason small little sores in mouth got really bad as a kid 6-12 but the only time I get them now is if I bite my cheek/lip then the cut will some times turn into one of the sores in a few days and goes away on its own.

Kidney stones back in 2001 (most painful thing in my life to date)

Last year had a bad Urinary Track Infection
Got fever of 104.5 massive headache had no idea what was wrong with me so went to hospital
Was very painful to urinate and had discharge in urine the hospital thought I had an STD but test came back negative I got a shot and some antibiotics went away in a week or so

Other that that besides normally getting the sniffles once a year that’s it

I am very concerned about this lump on the back of my neck have had for 2-3 years now used to be small and painless thought it was a build hair
but recently about 2 weeks ago I was messing around with it and squeezed between my 2 fingers and it kind of hurt a little to squeeze nothing more than a pimple would
Any way about 2 days after messing with it is started to be very sore and tender and also is starting to itch in that area and it has also enlarged a little in size
I had just dismissed it for so log due to the fact of my mother having one in the similar area for many many years and said it was nothing serious.
location is from standing behind me center of spine/neck to the right about 1/2 inch and just below my hair line in the area of neck hair size is almost the size of an quarter used to be the size of a nickel till I squeezed it quite hard few weeks ago
I am going to go get it checked out soon because its starting to worry me and getting very annoying cant lay my head down on my right side because it so sore
Please ideas anyone
 nabeelimran - Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:53 am

Based on the information that you gave, the swelling is most probably an Infected Sebaceous Cyst. Sebaceous Cysts develop when the normal drainage system of a Hair's Root is blocked by thick(er) secretions and the secretions (from the hair's root) accumulate inside the Hair's Root. These cysts are not painful till they get infected (as is probably your case, because of the squeezing).
I would advise you to go to a Hospital and have the swelling examined.
 Dr. Tino Anthony Solomon - Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:25 am

Hello there,

Your description does indeed appear to be that of an infected sebaceous cyst. These are sometimes given the other names keratin or epidermal cyst. A cyst is the medical term for a fluid filled closed sac. In a sebaceous cyst the fluid content consists of a white, semi-solid material known as sebum, said to resemble cottage cheese in appearance and consistency. Sebum is secreted from the sebaceous gland to lubricate hair shafts and is responsible for the oily nature of hair. Sebaceous glands arise around the sites of hair follicles and thus will often be found where hair grows, most commonly on the scalp, neck, back, face, and arms. They are not found on the palms of the hand or soles of the feet due to the lack of hair follicles there.

Blocked glands are the most common cause of sebaceous cysts; however it is apparent that some individuals are more susceptible to developing sebaceous cysts than others.
These cysts are not painful on their own, but can become painful if an infection develops as seems to have occurred in your case. The treatment of a symptomatic sebaceous cyst is to either leave it alone or surgically excise it, after which it should not recur. However if has become infected a course of antibiotics is needed to eradicate the microbes causing the infection before considering excision. Most importantly if this turns out to be your diagnosis then you need not worry about it. My advice would be to see a doctor in person to examine it and take samples if pus is being produced from the cyst. Treatment with antibiotics may be started and a plan to excise it could be made then and there.

Kind Regards,

Dr Tino Solomon
BSc(Hons) MBBS
Senior House Officer in Surgery
 Miss Jackson - Sat May 09, 2009 9:38 pm

This sounds like what I could have, though I may have a second on and they don't appear to be connected to the surface. It may be fixed to my tissue.
Should I insist on a biopsy?
My little brother (who is genetically similar to me) was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 4 years ago.
He's not a smoker.
I had been on for years but have quit a year ago.
Just a bit concerned is all.
What should I be sure to ask the doctor?

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