What’s the Difference between a Cyst and an Abscess

What Is A Cyst?

Cysts are benign growths or tumors that form within the body. They may occur anywhere from the mouth to the nose to other parts of your body such as your lungs. Most cysts do not cause any symptoms and most will go away without treatment. However, some cysts can become infected, which could lead to infection of internal organs like the liver or kidneys if left untreated.

The term “cyst” comes from the Greek word kystrapsis meaning “to fill.” Cysts are made up of fluid and cells. They usually consist of blood vessels (endothelium) and connective tissue (myxedema). Some types of cysts contain bone marrow, fat, muscle, nerve, platelets or other substances. The size of a pea, they range in size from one millimeter to several centimeters in diameter.

In addition to their physical appearance, cysts have other characteristics. For example, some cysts are found only in women while others are found in both men and women. Cysts may be tender or painful depending upon where they’re located and how large they are. Other differences include:

Some cystic forms of cancer require surgery to remove them. Others don’t need surgery at all because they dissolve naturally over time due to normal aging processes.

When cysts are present in large numbers they’re called polycystic. These cysts may become infected. Other complications include hormonal imbalances, jaundice and gallstones.

Each person has a different number of cysts in their bodies at any given time. When the number of cysts increase, you have polycystic disease which affects about 5 million people in the US. This disease is hereditary, but its exact causes are unknown.

What Is An Abscess?

An abscess is a type of cyst that has a wall consisting of cellulose in the middle and surrounded by a thin protective fibrous membrane. These are usually filled with pus, which contains dead white blood cells, bacteria and other debris. While some cysts are filled with liquid, others contain semi-solid material.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Role of diffusion weighted imaging in differentiation of intracranial tuberculoma and tuberculous abscess from cysticercus granulomas-a report of more than 100 … by RK Gupta, M Prakash, AM Mishra, M Husain… – European journal of …, 2005 – Elsevier

Dynamic CT features of hepatic abscesses. by D Mathieu, N Vasile, PL Fagniez, S Segui, D Grably… – Radiology, 1985 – pubs.rsna.org

EUS versus surgical cyst-gastrostomy for management of pancreatic pseudocysts by S Varadarajulu, TL Lopes, CM Wilcox… – Gastrointestinal …, 2008 – Elsevier

Endoscopic management of pancreatic pseudocysts or abscesses after an EUS-guided 1-step procedure for initial access by M Krüger, AS Schneider, MP Manns… – Gastrointestinal endoscopy, 2006 – Elsevier

What is the best endoscopic treatment for pancreatic pseudocysts? by M Giovannini – Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, 2007 – giejournal.org