Dermoid Cysts – the Facts

Of the different kinds of ovarian cysts, the most grotesque and bizarre are dermoid cysts. They are a benign form of teratoma. Teratoma is Greek and means “monster tumor”.

It’s due to this freakish aspect that many misconceptions over the condition have come about. A medical decision about your health should never be based on misconceptions but rather, the facts. In this article, I will deal with 3 common questions that get asked about dermoid cysts.

1.) What are dermoid cysts?

Dermoid cysts may consist of any type of human tissue. This includes teeth, bone, nails, hair, cartilage, nerve tissue, skin, blood, fat, eyes, thyroid tissue and sweat glands.

This is due to the fact that these cysts arise from germ cells that are undifferentiated. These germ cells have the capacity to grow into any of the different tissues that are present in the human body.

2.) Who can be affected by dermoid cysts?

Dermoid cysts on the neck, face, and scalp can afflict anyone regardless of their age or sex. These cysts may be present at birth. But dermoid cysts in the ovaries usually affect women between twenty years of age to about forty. Only one ovary is normally affected but they can grow on both ovaries fifteen percent of the time.

3.) What are the health risks?

Although they have a frightful appearance, dermoid cysts are almost always benign. If the cyst has distinct features such as hair, teeth, etc., there is very little chance of it becoming malignant. These rare cancers will normally affect women in their forties and older.

Health complications of benign dermoids are dependent on cyst size. Small cysts normally present no symptoms and are detected during a medical examination. An MRI, ultrasound, X-ray, or CT scan may be used to diagnose the cyst as dermoid.

If the cyst gets too big, it can become inflamed. It can also cause irritation of the abdominal cavity, a condition called peritonitis.

More commonly, the cyst may get twisted and cut off blood flow to the ovary. There is also the possibility of rupturing with the release of its contents into the abdominal cavity. If a cyst grows too large it can push against and impair the function of the surrounding organs.

Because a dermoid cyst doesn’t go away by itself, surgery may be necessary if any complications arise. However, regardless of size, dermoid cysts need to be closely monitored by your doctor.