What Is a Cystic Mass?

A cystic mass is a sac that is filled with fluid, air or other material; it can form anywhere in the body, including in the soft tissues, organs and bones, according to Mayo Clinic. Most cystic masses are benign, or noncancerous.

Cystic masses can be caused by tumors, infections, genetic conditions, a defect in the cells, a defect in the organ of a developing embryo, parasites, blockages of ducts that result in buildup of fluid and broken vessels as the result of an impact injury, as reported by Medical News Today.

Treatment for cystic masses depends on the type of cyst, its location and its size. The discomfort it causes is also an important consideration in determining whether the cyst should be removed via surgery. Sometimes, cysts can be drained via the insertion of a catheter or a needle into them as an alternative to surgery. Some cysts that are not causing problems otherwise are biopsied in this manner to make sure they are not cancerous.

It is important to differentiate between cystic masses and tumors. A tumor is an abnormal mass that also forms anywhere throughout the body. The main difference between the two is that a tumor is always filled with tissue as opposed to fluid, air or other material. Tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous, as stated by Mayo Clinic.