Drainage and Extraction

Drainage and extraction are two techniques used to treat severe acne when inflammation, nodules and large deep cysts haven't yet responded to medication. These procedures are often referred to as "acne surgery" because they drain or surgically extract acne cysts from the skin while decreasing the chances of cyst recurrence and scarring.

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During acne drainage surgery, 2 iodine crystals are placed in the center of the cyst and during the next few weeks, the cyst will turn into a dark brown, hard mass. The hard nodule can then be expressed easily from the skin without causing scarring. This technique is inexpensive, but the length of time it takes for each lesion to be removed is lengthy. Patients are also required to diligently attend follow-up visits. This type of time commitment often makes drainage treatment unpopular with many patients.

Acne extraction surgically removes epidermoid cysts from the skin. It also ensures that the pus-filled sacs never reappear. Like drainage, the extraction technique is also time consuming as it requires each opening to be sutured. The minimal excision consists of a 2 to 3-milimeter incision through the cyst wall to remove the cyst contents.

Drainage and extraction acne surgeries can only be performed by a dermatologist. For example, draining or cutting an acne cyst open on your own, without a professionally trained dermatologist, will usually result in scarring and recurrence of the cysts.

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