A cyst is a closed sac, having a distinct membrane and division compared with the nearby tissue. Hence, it is a cluster of cells that has grouped together to form a sac (not unlike the manner in which water molecules group together, forming a bubble); however, the distinguishing aspect of a cyst is that the cells forming the “shell” of such a sac are distinctly abnormal (in both appearance and behaviour) when compared with all surrounding cells for that given location. It may contain air, fluids, or semi-solid material. A collection of pus is called an abscess, not a cyst. Once formed, sometimes a cyst may resolve on its own. When a cyst fails to resolve, it may need to be removed surgically, but that would depend upon its type and location.

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