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Cortisone Injection FAQ's

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I've noticed a lot of the same topics about cortisone shots over and over again. Hopefully this may help, coming from my own experiences. Feel free to add or correct.

What is a cortisone shot?

The dermatologist injects the cyst with a solution of a steroid that reduces inflammation as well as playing other roles in cell migration. The cyst should go down within 24-72 hours. The cortisone injection can be coupled with other procedures such as draining cysts.

How much does a cortisone injection cost?

If you have insurance, every plan will have different coverage. If you do not, I've seen prices ranging from inclusion in the office visit price to $25/injection.

When should I get a cortisone injection?

As long as you know about the risks of the injection and your dermatologist is willing to give the injection, it can be given at any point in the cyst cycle. Some find it convenient to get the injection when they feel a large cyst coming on, others may find the injection necessary to make an older cyst go away.

How many injections does it take?

Hopefully one. Some cysts require multiple injections to go away. There have been cases where 5+ injections were given on the same cyst. Each additional injection appears to increase the chance of atrophy.

Can I get a cortisone injection while on Accutane or other medications?

At the dermatologist's discretion, you can get a cortisone injection at almost anytime. Being on accutane may cause an increased risk of scarring and delayed healing, though some have it done anyway.

What should I do with the area after I get a cortisone injection?

The area is sensitive, so avoid putting any chemicals on it, picking at it, or washing it with very hot water.

What is atrophy?

Atrophy is when the cortisone "eats" away the fat from the deeper layers of skin, leaving a dent in the skin. This usually begins to form a few days after the injection is administered, becoming the deepest after a couple weeks, and generally resurfacing within 6-12 months at the most. Most people seem to notice much improvement or total reversal after 2-4 months. PM me for a pic of what mine looked like, if you need to know.

How common is atrophy?

I have yet to find a good answer to this question. It happened to me, and it has happened to many others on this site who have contacted me, so there is a reasonable chance that if injected, the area could atrophy. You might want to make sure you can cope with the "dent" if it appears before you get the injection. Some people seem more succeptible to atrophy than others, yet some can get 20+ injections and atrophy all of a sudden.

How can I deal with atrophy from a cortisone shot?

Applying Retin-A or Retin-A micro at night could possibly speed up collagen production. I am not aware of any study done on the issue, but there is no procedure that can be done that can speed up the process.

When should I look into scar treatments for atrophy?

By far, the majority of people's atrophy goes away on its own, so it is important not to impair the healing process if at all possible. If it has been a full year, you may want to talk to your derm about treatments.

Does age have an impact on the risk of atrophy?

Once again, there is seemingly no research on this topic, but it makes sense that the older you are, your collagen production declines, and it is more difficult for your body to repair in a situation like atrophy. Complete leveling out is probably more likely for a 15 year old than it is for a 45 year old.

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