Removal of Cysts and Tumors


A cyst is an abnormal cavity in bone or soft tissues which may contain fluid, is often surrounded by a capsule, and is usually lined with a thin membrane. There are many different kinds of cysts, the classification of which is beyond the scope of this website. Large cavities should undergo needle aspiration to ensure that they do not represent a solid tumor. Also, the true nature of a large cyst should be determined before its complete removal by an incisional biopsy, so that the excision technique can be modified for that cyst type.

The most important reason for recommending that a cyst be removed is that over time they increase in size and may eventually become infected. Very large cysts may significantly weaken the lower jaw, predisposing it to fracture. Teeth adjacent to a large cyst may become loose, displaced, or undergo root resorption.

Benign cysts are usually slow growing, and there are occasions when it is prudent to avoid removal. Every person with a cyst should be evaluated individually, and treatment should be carefully planned.


A tumor is a solid or semi-solid mass within bone or soft tissue composed of tissue which is either enlarged and/or different than that which is usually found in that location.

There are a variety of soft tissue tumors which may be found on the lips, cheeks, tongue, mouth floor (under the tongue), and gingiva (gums). Dr. Vecchione can remove most of these growths with a laser, although some are best removed with a scalpel.

Tumors within the jawbones have a very varied clinical and x-ray appearance and can consist entirely of soft tissue, a mixture of soft and calcified tissues, or entirely calcified tissues. A unique feature of these tumors is the wide range of biologic behavior they exhibit. As a result, various methods of treatment have been advocated for these tumors, ranging from conservative to very aggressive surgical excision. It is therefore mandatory to establish the diagnosis with an incisional biopsy prior to definitive treatment.