Dermoid Cyst in Children
What is a dermoid cyst?
A dermoid cyst is a pocket or hole under the skin. It contains tissue normally found
in the outer layers of the skin. This might be hair follicles, oil, and sweat glands.
Oil and sweat collect inside the cyst, causing it to get larger.
A dermoid cyst may appear at birth or soon after. But often it is not seen until years
later. Dermoid cysts are usually found on the head, neck, or face. They can also occur
on other parts of the body.
What causes a dermoid cyst?
A dermoid cyst is present from birth (congenital). It happens when the skin layers
do not grow together as they should during the early stages of an embryo’s development.
What are the symptoms of a dermoid cyst?
A dermoid cyst looks like a small lump under the skin. The skin over the lump can
easily be moved. The lump may be skin-colored, or may have a slight blue color.
The symptoms of a dermoid cyst can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child
sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How is a dermoid cyst diagnosed?
Your child’s healthcare provider will usually diagnose a dermoid cyst based on what
it looks like and where it is. He or she will look at the cyst and surrounding area.
Your child may need imaging tests to find out if the cyst is connected to other tissue
in the head and neck. Tests may include:
- X-ray. The provider may order Images of the head, neck, face, or other area where the cyst
- CT scan. X-ray and a computer are used to make detailed images of any part of the body.
- MRI. Large magnets, radio waves, and a computer make detailed images of organs and structures
within the body.
How is a dermoid cyst treated?
The most common treatment is surgery to cut out the cyst. Treatment will depend on
your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe
the condition is.
What are the complications of a dermoid cyst?
Depending on where the cyst is located, it can cause problems. For example, a dermoid
cyst near the eye may affect your child’s eyesight. But this is uncommon. Cysts also
- Damage nearby bone
- Cause infections
- Cause a child to be embarrassed or uncomfortable
When should I call my child’s healthcare provider?
Call your child’s healthcare provider if you notice any lumps or bumps on your child.
Key points about dermoid cysts
- A dermoid cyst is present from birth. It happens when the skin layers do not grow
together as they should during the early stages of an embryo’s development.
- Dermoid cysts are usually found on the head, neck, or face. But they can occur anywhere
on the body.
- Dermoid cysts appear as small, often painless, lumps.
- Dermoid cysts are usually diagnosed by what they look like and where they are located.
- Treatment is often surgery to remove the cyst.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s health care provider:
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- At the visit, write down the names of new medicines, treatments, or tests, and any
new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
- If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose
for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important
if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.