Dermoid Cyst Symptoms and Diagnosis :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Dermoid Cyst Symptoms and Diagnosis

If you, or your child, have been told you need a dermoid cyst ablation and want to pursue minimally invasive treatment, call our Interventional Coordinator at (614) 722-2375 to set up a consultation with an Interventional Radiologist. You may also request an appointment using our online form.

What causes a dermoid cyst?

The easiest way to think of the cause of a dermoid cyst is "skin being trapped" in the affected area during fetal development. As skin that normally produces oil on the surface and sheds skin cells (like dandruff), a dermoid cyst is most easily thought of as a "bubble" of skin, turned inside-out, and trapped under the skin in otherwise normal tissues. In this situation, the trapped skin produces oil and skin cells (dandruff within the dermoid cyst) that slowly increase in size as more oil and skin cells are shed into the cyst (bubble). As more oil and dermoid skin cells accumulate, the size of the dermoid cyst enlarges. If a dermoid cyst is within the bone (most often in the skull), the hole in the affected bone enlarges as the cyst enlarges.

Dermoid Cyst Symptoms

Dermoid cysts outside of the eye produce a painless "mass," or lump, that is felt in the affected area. Dermoid cysts in the eye may produce pressure on the eyeball resulting in pain and visual problems.

Dermoid Cyst Diagnosis

A physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant makes the diagnosis of a dermoid cyst during a physical examination, when a soft, painless mass is felt in certain areas, with normal overlying skin. The diagnosis of a dermoid cyst is often confirmed with either an ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan examination.

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