November 28, 2023

A cyst is an abnormal space surrounded by a thin wall of tissue. The space can be empty (filled with air) or it can be filled with another type of tissue such as blood, pus (dead immune cells), or skin. They can develop anywhere in the body but are very common in the ovaries and skin and can range in size from very small (only seen under the microscope) to very large (big enough to be seen without a microscope).

Unilocular versus multilocular

Cysts that have only a single open space are called unilocular while those with multiple smaller spaces are called multilocular.


Is a cyst benign or malignant?

Whether a cyst is benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) depends on the types of cells found on the inside of the cyst. Pathologists examine this tissue carefully to determine the type of cyst and its potential behavior.

What is a ruptured cyst?

A ruptured cyst is a cyst that has previously broken open or ruptured. These are often surrounded by inflammatory cells and cholesterol clefts.

About this article

This article was written by doctors to help you read and understand your pathology report. Contact us if you have questions about this article or your pathology report. For a complete introduction to your pathology report, read this article.

Other helpful resources

Atlas of pathology
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