Scalp Cyst Removal Aftercare

After undergoing a scalp cyst removal, proper scalp cyst removal aftercare is crucial for smooth recovery. This article provides an in-depth guide to assist you in this phase.

Scalp cysts are mostly harmless, yet they can be uncomfortable, often leading to surgical removal. Although the operation is usually uncomplicated, the aftercare you perform significantly affects how well and quickly you recover.

This article details the necessary steps for effective aftercare, starting from the immediate hours after the operation and extending to the following weeks. By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure proper wound healing and a speedy return to your daily routines.

This guide is beneficial for those who have had the surgery, those preparing for it, or those caring for someone who is.

What is a scalp cyst?

A scalp cyst, a sebaceous, trichilemmal or pilar cyst, is a common condition often mistaken for a superficial skin blemish. However, scalp cysts form within hair follicles and tiny skin glands unlike regular skin abnormalities.

These cysts are typically harmless and filled with keratin or sebum. While they can develop anywhere on the body, they are commonly found on the scalp. Their size can vary, with some being as small as a pea while others grow to the size of a golf ball.

Most scalp cysts remain painless and cause no symptoms. Some individuals may not even realise they have a cyst until they feel a lump on their scalp or it is found during a haircut. However, cysts can sometimes become uncomfortable or infected, leading to pain, redness, or swelling.

Furthermore, some people may opt for surgical removal due to cosmetic concerns, especially if the cyst is large or visible. Others choose to have it removed if it’s causing discomfort or has become a nuisance, for example, by catching on their comb or hairbrush.

Regardless of the reason for removal, the following steps – aftercare – are an important component of your successful recovery.

What to Expect Immediately After Surgery:

Immediately after the scalp cyst removal, you might notice certain sensations and changes as your body initiates the healing process.

Since your cyst was removed under local anaesthetic, you should expect numbness in the area. The numbness should wear off within a few hours, after which you may feel discomfort or pain. It is important to note that this is a normal part of recovery and can be managed with appropriate pain relief. Take paracetamol before the anaesthetic wears off (in fact, half an hour before attending the clinic is a good time!

You should be able to return home immediately after the procedure. Please consider whether you would feel more comfortable seeking an accompanying companion travelling home. Most patients drive themselves home.

It’s common to see swelling and redness around the wound. Slight swelling and redness are typical responses to the surgical procedure and should decrease after a few days. A small amount of clear or lightly blood-streaked fluid may seep from the wound. 

While these are typical post-operative signs, a few symptoms warrant immediate medical attention. If you experience severe pain that over-the-counter painkillers can’t control, excessive bleeding, a high temperature, or increased redness or swelling around the wound, contact Solent Vascular Care or your surgeon promptly.

The immediate aftercare will focus on managing symptoms and providing the optimal conditions for healing at the surgical site.

Short-Term Scalp Cyst Removal Aftercare

In the first 24 hours after your scalp cyst removal, properly caring for the wound and managing your comfort levels are the top priorities. Scalp Cyst Removal aftercare is important and can benefit healing and recovery.

Firstly, keep the wound clean and dry to prevent infection. Avoid touching the wound unnecessarily to keep it clean. Please be careful when washing your hair, using simple shampoos and avoiding any hair products until the wound is fully healed. If you wish to apply Savlon healing gel to the wound for the first week or two, that can help (but not obligatory).

Pain after cyst removal is expected but can be controlled with paracetamol and nurofen if needed – although aspirin and Nurofen (slightly) increase the bruising, so paracetamol alone is preferred.

Rest is helpful in this initial period. While light activities such as walking are permissible, avoid strenuous exercises and heavy lifting. As a guide, any exercise you must strain to perform should be avoided for the first few days.

To reduce swelling, try to keep your head elevated, even when sleeping. A reclining chair or extra pillows can help with this.

Finally, smoking delays healing and increases the chances of complications such as infection. If you smoke, stopping for a few days of the healing period will help. 

Long-Term Scalp Cyst Removal Aftercare

In the days and weeks following your surgery, continued care is necessary for successful recovery and healing.

Hygiene is key. After the first 24 hours, gently wash the wound area with mild shampoo and warm water, then pat it dry. Avoid scrubbing the area.

Please contact us if you notice increased redness, swelling, or pus. A photo can help us decide if you need to see it.

As the wound heals, it’s normal for a scab to form. Don’t pick at it, as this increases the risk of infection and causes more scarring. The scab will fall off on its own as the skin underneath heals.

Lastly, protect the area from the sun to prevent the darkening of the scar. Wear a hat or apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 when outside.

Remember, everyone’s healing process is different, and the time it takes to recover varies. Always listen to your body and give it the rest it needs.

Warning Signs to Look Out For:

While most recoveries progress smoothly, being aware of potential complications is crucial. Contact us immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • Severe or increasing pain not relieved by prescribed medication.
  • Unusual or foul-smelling discharge from the wound.
  • Excessive bleeding that doesn’t stop with continuous firm pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Increased swelling or redness around the surgical site.
  • Development of fever above 38 degrees Celsius.
  • Any signs of an allergic reaction to the medication, such as a rash, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, or tongue.

Remember, early detection and intervention can prevent further complications.

Promoting Healing

The healing process doesn’t just end with the surgery; certain lifestyle changes can help your skin’s health. Here are some suggestions:

  • Maintain a healthy diet of proteins, vitamins, and minerals to support your body’s healing process.
  • Stay hydrated to maintain skin health.
  • Avoid harsh hair products that can irritate the scalp.
  • Protect your scalp from excessive sun exposure.
  • Regularly check your scalp for any unusual lumps or bumps. Early detection can lead to more straightforward treatments.

Implementing these habits can significantly improve your recovery and overall well-being.


Scalp cyst removal is a standard minor surgical procedure that can significantly improve the quality of life for those affected. A little self-care after your surgery will enhance your speedy recovery so that you soon forget about your scalp cyst after the first weeks.

Please comment below if you have any questions or want to share your experiences with scalp cyst removal.

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