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Dermoid Cyst in Children

What are dermoid cysts in children?

A dermoid cyst is a collection of tissue under the skin. It may contain hair follicles, oil, and sweat glands. In some cases, it may contain bone, teeth, or nerves.

A dermoid cyst may appear at birth or soon after. Dermoid cysts are often found on the head, neck, or face, most often around the eyes. They can also occur on other parts of the body.

These growths are noncancerous (benign). But they often grow larger during puberty. So removing the dermoid cyst before then is preferred in most cases.

What causes a dermoid cyst in a child?

A dermoid cyst is present from birth (congenital). It happens when the skin layers don't grow together as they should. This happens during the early stages of a baby's development in the uterus.

What are the symptoms of a dermoid cyst in a child?

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.

These symptoms may be caused by other health conditions. Have your child see their healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is a dermoid cyst diagnosed in a child?

Your child’s healthcare provider will often diagnose a dermoid cyst based on what it looks like and where it is. They will look at the cyst and the nearby 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. This test gives 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 in the body without using X-rays.

How is a dermoid cyst treated in a child?

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 possible complications of a dermoid cyst in a child?

Depending on where the cyst is located, it can cause problems. For instance, a dermoid cyst near the eye may affect your child’s eyesight. But this is uncommon. Cysts also can:

  • Damage nearby bone

  • Cause infections

  • Make a child feel 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 in children

  • A dermoid cyst is present from birth. It happens when the skin layers don't grow together as they should.

  • This happens during a baby's development in the uterus.

  • They are often found on the head, neck, or face. But they can occur anywhere on the body.

  • They are small, often painless, lumps. They are not cancer.

  • They are often 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 healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.

  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.

  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.

  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.

  • Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.

  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.

  • Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.

  • 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.

Online Medical Reviewer: Michael Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2023
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. 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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