Dermoid Cyst

Dermoid Cyst: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

A dermoid cyst is the congenital condition that happens at the birth of a child. Before going into the details, you need to understand about the cyst. The cyst is a sac-like structure that is closed. The cyst may contain fluid, gas, semi-solid material. It is not the part of your regular tissue. So, irregular growth can vary in size. The dermoid cyst can develop near the surface of your skin. It mostly occurs during the development of the child in the uterus. So, you see it at a very small age. In most cases, the cysts do not harm you in any way. But, it does not resolve on its own. You need medical intervention to treat the problem. You can only remove the cysts with an invasive procedure. Want to know more about the condition? Then, read ahead to know more about it.

What Is Dermoid Cyst?

The dermoid cyst develops when the skin cells, sweat glands, fatty tissue, oil glands, hair, etc. get trapped in the skin. It mostly occurs during the development of the baby in the womb. The glands continue to produce the substance. So, the cysts grow in size as the fetus develops. The cysts pose no risk to the health of the baby. The painless cysts are common in nature. Depending on the location of the cyst, the removal varies in complicity.

Periorbital Dermoid Cyst

Types Of Dermoid Cyst

The dermoid cyst tends to form on your skin’s surface. You can notice it after the birth of a child. In some cases, the cyst can form deep inside the body. So, it becomes difficult to detect the problem with ease. Only later in your life, the problem gets detected. The classification of the cysts happens depends on the location. So, the type of cyst depends on the area it occurs. The most common types of the dermoid cyst are:

Periorbital Dermoid Cyst

Periorbital Dermoid Cyst

It is the cyst that occurs near your eyebrow. It can happen at any side of your face. So, the cyst develops either at the left side of the left eyebrow or the right side of the right eyebrow. The cyst can develop in the womb. So, you can see the cysts at the time of the birth. But, in some cases, the problem may not surface for some time. Therefore, the cysts can appear only after some months or years after the birth of the child. It is a harmless condition that has little or no symptoms. Though it appears near the eyebrow, it does not affect the vision of the child. The child may not suffer from any health complication due to the problem. But, an infection of the cyst can create complications. To avoid complications, the infection needs prompt treatment. At times, the removal of the cysts becomes a necessity.

Ovarian Dermoid Cyst

Ovarian Dermoid Cyst

The benign cyst can develop in an ovary or on it. Unlike the ovarian cysts that are linked to the menstrual cycle, the dermoid cyst differs. It does not have any association with the function of the ovary. The development of the cyst occurs before the birth. The cyst causes no signs or symptoms in women. It gets discovered only during a routine pelvic examination. But, the large cyst is at risk of rupturing. The rupturing can lead to the spilling of the grease content. So, it can lead to infection and other complications. The removal of the cysts becomes a necessity to avoid complication.

Spinal Dermoid Cyst

Spinal Dermoid Cyst

The noncancerous cyst can also form on the spine. The cyst does not spread anywhere else and stays in a particular region. The cyst causes no harm to your health. But, the formation of the cyst can put pressure on the spine or its nerves. The pressure can trigger distress in later part of your life. Therefore, it is better to remove the cysts before it creates any complications. You can opt for the surgical removal of the cysts to avoid complications.

Symptoms Of Dermoid Cyst

In most cases, the dermoid cyst may present no signs or symptoms. You can only observe symptoms with the presence of infection. The excess growth can also show some signs. It is the frightening aspect of the problem. You may never know you have such cyst till it ruptures. But, some people can experience some signs. The signs differ from the type of cysts you develop. Therefore, pay close attention to your body to know the changes. It will help you take necessary action before it ruptures or gets infected. So, the symptoms of the different types of cysts are:

Periorbital Dermoid Cyst

The cysts near the eyebrow may or may not show symptoms. But, you can experience the following:

  • The swelling of the cysts near the eyebrow can occur.
  • The dermoid cyst can trigger distress.
  • Skin with the cyst may have a yellowish color to it.

The cysts near the eyebrow can become an infection. When it is an infection, the signs may vary like:

  • Redness around the cyst
  • Swelling near the cyst
  • Inflammation around the eye

The infected cyst can rupture at any time. So, when the cyst bursts, it has the possibility of spreading the infection.

Ovarian Dermoid Cyst

The cysts that form in the ovaries may not pose any threat to your life. But, it can cause pain in the pelvic side. The agony is more prominent on the side where the cyst develops. Women feel the pain more during the menstrual cycle.

Spinal Dermoid Cyst

Like the cysts appearing in the other region, the spinal dermoid cyst never shows signs. Only when the cysts grow in size, it can show visible signs. It is due to the fact that the cysts can compress the nerves or the spinal cord. Depending on the size and specific location of the cyst, you determine the nerve that gets affected. So, you can see the following symptoms:

  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Tingling sensation (mostly in the legs and arms)
  • Problems with walking
  • Incontinence

Causes Of Dermoid Cyst

The dermoid cyst can develop in the fetus in the womb before the baby is born. The specific reason as to why someone gets the cysts remains unknown. But, the causes of the problems differ from the type of cyst. The common causes of the different types of cysts are:

Periorbital Dermoid Cyst Causes

The periorbital type of cyst can develop on the skin when the layers of the specific skin region do not grow together properly. So, it can result in the collection of the skin cells and other materials in a sac. In most cases, the collection of such particles occurs near the surface of the skin. The glands present inside the cysts continue to grow. It is due to the fact that they continue to secrete fluids. So, it results in the periorbital cysts to grow on your face.

Ovarian Dermoid Cyst Causes

The cysts that grow on the ovary develops during the embryonic development. So, the collection of skin cells, glands, and tissue can grow on the internal organ like the ovary. The abnormal growth on the other body parts can cause distress.

Spinal Dermoid Cyst Causes

The main issue that leads to the development of the cyst on the spinal cord is the spinal dysraphism. The problem occurs during fetal development. The non-closure of the part of the neural tube results in the issue. The neural tube is significant for the growth and development of the brain as well as spinal cord. The opening in the neural tube cells can lead to cyst formation. Therefore, the cyst can form on the baby’s spine.

Diagnosis Of Dermoid Cyst

Dermoid CystThough the problem is harmless, it can sometimes affect your life. So, you need to get it checked by the doctor to avoid infection. The doctor can diagnose the problem with the following methods:

Physical examination

The cyst that is visible to the naked eye like the periorbital ones gets detected by physical examination. Your doctor can check the skin’s surface along the neck or chest area. It will reveal the presence of the cysts, its size, and shape. The doctor can also have the ability to move the cysts under the skin and know more about it.

Imaging Tests

Your doctor can prescribe the imaging tests. It is useful in cases where the cyst develops near a highly sensitive area. So, the cyst present in the neck (near the carotid artery) or the eye requires the imaging tests for proper inspection. The high-quality images can provide better insight into the location and the subsequent damage it can cause. So, the following imaging tests can detect the problem more clearly.

CT Scan

The CT scan can create 3-dimensional and layered views of the organs and tissues inside the body. The imaging techniques use a special x-ray to five comprehensive images of the cysts.

MRI Scan

An MRI uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images inside the body. Your doctor can use sophisticated imaging techniques to detect spinal cysts. The information can help the doctor know the exact location of the cyst. It also reveals the cysts and its distance between the nerves. So, it can help the doctor understand the potential damage due to the surgery.

Pelvic Examination

Your doctor suggests pelvic examination to detect the presence of the cyst on ovaries. So, the examination can detect the presence of the ovarian dermoid cyst. You can feel pain or distress with the presence of the cysts.

Pelvic Ultrasound

The comprehensive imaging test will establish the presence of the dermoid cyst on the ovaries. The pelvic ultrasounds use the sound waves to generate images. The doctor can rub the transducer (the wand-like device) on the lower abdomen. Therefore, it generates the images of the ovaries on the screen. The doctor can detect the cysts on the ovaries.

Transvaginal Ultrasound

Transvaginal Ultrasound

Another ultrasound technique that can shows the images of the ovaries more clearly. It uses the sound waves to get clear images of the ovaries.

Dermoid Cysts Treatment Options

The ideal treatment option is surgery. Regardless of the location of the cyst, invasive surgery can remove the problem. But, your doctor takes into consideration certain things before treating the cyst. The main issues that your doctor focusses while opting the surgery are:

Medical History

Your overall health condition. Your prior diseases, allergies, and the medication you use get assessed.


The signs or symptoms the problem can trigger in your body. Your doctor can analyze the adverse reaction the cyst can cause in your body.


The doctor checks for the presence of infection or the risk of getting an infection of the cysts. The infection can lead to the rupturing of the cysts leading to more complications. So, the doctor analyses the problem closely.

Surgical Procedure

The doctor check for your tolerance of the invasive surgery and the medication associated with it. You must have a high tolerance for the invasive procedure.


The aftercare procedure to ensure the cyst does not cause any more problems in your life.

Severity Of The Cyst

The severity of the cyst helps decide the need for the surgery. If the cyst is more severe, then you need immediate medical attention.

Once all the factors get assessed, your doctor can opt for the surgery. But, you need to know what to expect before, during, and after the invasive procedure.

Before Surgery

You need to follow all the directions provided by your doctor before the surgery religiously. Your doctor uses general anesthesia before the procedure. Therefore, you need to talk to your doctor about eating or the medications you can take.

During Surgery

The surgery to remove the different types of dermoid cyst differs. Read ahead to know about each surgical procedure in detail.

Periorbital Cyst

To remove the cyst on your face, the surgeon makes a small incision near the hairline or eyebrow. The surgeon makes the incision in such a manner that you can hide the scar with ease. The cyst gets removed after making the incision. The whole procedure takes little more than half an hour. So, the simple procedure does not take much time.

Ovarian Cysts

Removing the cyst from the ovary can become a little complex. Your doctor tries to remove the cyst without affecting the ovary. So, the procedure known as ovarian cystectomy can eradicate the cyst without removing the organ. But, it is only applicable for cysts small in size. For larger cysts or the one causing too much damage to the ovary, your surgeon removes the ovary too.

Spinal Cysts

Spinal Cysts

Your surgeon removes the cysts from the spinal cord using the microsurgery. The surgery uses very small instruments. You just have to lie face down during the procedure. So, the doctor opens the dura (the thin covering of the spine) to access the cyst. To avoid any adverse effects on the nerves, the whole operation gets monitored carefully.

After Surgery

In some of the cases, the cyst removal happens as an outpatient procedure. So, it is possible for you to go back after the surgery on the same day. The surgery to the spine is more complicated. Therefore, you need to stay at the hospital overnight. Your doctor may look for a complication that can arise due to the surgery. Your spine is a very complex area. So, removing the cyst from the area requires precision and control. The doctor tries to remove the cysts as safely as possible. Your doctor will monitor your progress closely after the procedure. Therefore, you need to spend at least two to three weeks recovering from the procedure.

Complications Due To Dermoid Cysts

As mentioned several times, the cysts have no harmful effects. But, retaining the dermoid cysts in the different parts of the body can trigger some complication.

Periorbital Cysts

When you leave the cysts around the face and neck region, it can swell. You can experience noticeable swelling under the skin in the specific region. When the cysts get infected, it can rupture. So, the ruptured cyst can infect the surrounding tissue.

Spinal Cysts

It can grow and put pressure on the spinal cord. You can feel the cyst affecting the nerves of the spinal cord. So, it can affect your sensation in the hands or legs.

Ovarian Cysts

The dermoid cysts in the ovaries can grow into large sizes. The non-cancerous cysts can affect the position of the ovary in the women’s body. The cysts can trigger ovary torsion (twisting of the ovary). So, the torsion can result in the improper blood flow to the ovaries. It can affect the function of the ovaries. You can suffer from infertility to the improper function of the ovaries. It will affect women’s chances to get pregnant.


In most cases, you may find the dermoid cyst at the birth of the child itself. You can also develop the problem later in your life. In most cases, the cyst does not pose any threat. It is harmless in nature. But, you need to consult your doctor to know about it in detail. Therefore, talk to your doctor about the advantages and disadvantages associated with the surgical removal of the cysts. When your doctor removes the cysts with the invasive procedure, it has few or no complications. You may not suffer any long-term complication due to the cyst removal. But, leaving the cyst as it is can increase infection chances. The infection can rupture the cysts and lead to more problems. Therefore, removing it can avoid the complications associated with the rupturing of the cysts. You can prevent the severe medical problem due to the cysts rupturing.

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