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Dermoid Cyst Workup

  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
 
Updated: Jun 06, 2016
 

Imaging Studies

Radiography, CT scanning, and MRI are helpful in making the correct differential diagnosis of dermoid cysts. MRI is particularly helpful in diagnosing intracranial or intramedullary dermoid cysts and in assessing the dissemination of fatty masses or droplets. MRI is helpful in planning surgical procedures and in assessing therapeutic success. Three-dimensional reconstructed assessment of a nasal dermoid cyst also may be of value, especially when focusing on the intracranial connection.[23]

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Histologic Findings

Dermoid cysts are a result of the sequestration of the skin along the lines of embryonic closure. If connected with the ovary, dermoid cysts are true teratomas.

In contrast to epidermal inclusion cysts, dermoid cysts in the skin are lined by an epidermis that possesses various epidermal appendages. As a rule, these appendages are fully mature. Hair follicles containing hairs that project into the lumen of the cyst are often present. The dermis of dermoid cysts usually contains sebaceous glands, eccrine glands, and, in many patients, apocrine glands. Occasionally, the lining epithelium may proliferate as papillary boundaries extend externally or inward toward the lumen of the cyst. This proliferation may have some superficial resemblance to epidermal carcinomatous proliferation, and the growth may be misclassified as a cancer.

Dermoid cysts in the ovary (cystic teratomas) or those disseminated intra-abdominally may contain other structures such as nails, hairs, or cartilage and bone fragments. These cysts have cell walls that are almost identical to those of the skin, and they may contain multiple adnexal skin structures such as hair follicles, sweat glands, and occasionally, hair, teeth, or nerves.

A congenital dermoid together with a bronchogenic cyst of the tongue is extremely rare but has been described in a few patients.[34]

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH Professor and Head of Dermatology, Professor of Pathology, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Visiting Professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, New York Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Zbigniew Ruszczak, MD, PhD Consultant Dermatologist and Allergist, Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, UAE; Consultant in Pediatric Dermatology, Wound Healing and On-Site-Drug Delivery Systems; Visiting Consultant in Dermatology and Dermatopathology, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark

Zbigniew Ruszczak, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, New York Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

David F Butler, MD Section Chief of Dermatology, Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System; Professor of Dermatology, Texas A&M University College of Medicine; Founding Chair, Department of Dermatology, Scott and White Clinic

David F Butler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, Alpha Omega Alpha, Association of Military Dermatologists, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society for MOHS Surgery, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH Professor and Head of Dermatology, Professor of Pathology, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Visiting Professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, New York Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Albert C Yan, MD Section Chief, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Dermatology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Albert C Yan, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology, Society for Pediatric Dermatology, American Academy of Pediatrics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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