ZocdocAnswersI have a bump on the side of my head, a few inches above my left ear. What could it be?

Question

I have a bump on the side of my head, a few inches above my left ear. What could it be?

The bump is about the size of a dime, is hard, and hurts to touch.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have a bump on the side of your head a few inches above your ear, and that it is painful when you touch it. There are a number of different possibilities as far as what it might be, and I am happy to give you some of my thoughts, but to get the most accurate answer I am going to recommend that you get evaluated by an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) physician. They will be able to take more of a history and examine you, and are well equipped to manage masses in the head and neck. Depending on how superficial (close to the surface of the skin) the mass feel when palpated, it will make your physician think of different possibilities. For instance, if it feels like it is within the dermis (deep skin) and well circumscribed, then it may be something like an epidermal inclusion cyst. If it is fluctuant (fluid filled like a water balloon) then it could be an abscess, or a cyst. If infected, then the skin will be erythematous (red and warm) and painful to palpation. Since the area above your ear is hair-bearing, it could be a pilonidal cyst. The ENT should be able to examine you and determine what is going on and give you a good recommendation about what to do. Best of luck.

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

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