What are epidermal inclusion cysts (EIC)?

Updated: Sep 17, 2020
  • Author: Linda J Fromm, MD, MA, FAAD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Epidermoid cysts represent the most common cutaneous cysts. While they may occur anywhere on the body, they occur most frequently on the face, scalp, neck, and trunk. [1, 2, 3]

Historically, epidermoid cysts have been referred to by various terms, including follicular infundibular cysts, epidermal cysts, and epidermal inclusion cysts. The term epidermal inclusion cyst refers specifically to an epidermoid cyst that is the result of the implantation of epidermal elements in the dermis. Because most lesions originate from the follicular infundibulum, the more general term epidermoid cyst is favored. The term sebaceous cyst should be avoided because it implies that the cyst is of sebaceous origin. Finally, the term milia refers to very small, superficial epidermoid cysts.

Epidermoid cysts are benign lesions; however, very rare cases of various associated malignancies have been reported. [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]


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