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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 is located.
  • 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 can:

  • 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.

Next steps

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.
Dermoid Cyst in Children - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN
Online Medical Reviewer: Holloway, Beth, RN, M.Ed.
Last Review Date: 2015-06-23T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2015-11-17T00:00:00
Published Date: 2015-11-17T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2007-03-30T00:00:00
© 2016 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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