ZocdocAnswersIs the lump on the back of my neck a carbuncle?

Question

Is the lump on the back of my neck a carbuncle?

I have a lump on the back of my neck near where my back starts that is very sensitive to the touch and is throbbing with pain. Is this a carbuncle?

Answer

It sounds like you are in quite a bit of pain. I recommend that you get in to see your doctor right away to help you figure out what is going on. A carbuncle is large reddened area of skin infection filled with pus. It is usually very obvious when someone has a carbuncle because of the redness and draining pus. If you do not have these symptoms then it is unlikely to be a carbuncle; however, if you do have these symptoms, then this will probably require drainage by your doctor and a prescription of antibiotics to clear things up. Another possibility would be a sebaceous cyst, which occur commonly on the neck, and look like raised bumps. Periodically sebaceous cysts can become inflamed and painful and may leak a thick foul smelling material through a pore. Sebaceous cysts are typically removed surgically (a simple procedure which can be done in the office), which is curative. I would go see your doctor right away to get a diagnosis. If you have severe symptoms like fever or spreading redness on the skin, then you should go to the emergency room.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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