Ruptured intracranial dermoid cysts

Surg Neurol. 2002 Jun;57(6):391-8; discussion 398. doi: 10.1016/s0090-3019(02)00723-1.


Background: Intracranial dermoid cysts are rare congenital neoplasms that are believed to arise from ectopic cell rests incorporated in the closing neural tube. The rupture of an intracranial dermoid cyst is a relatively rare event that typically occurs spontaneously. In the past it was believed that rupture is always fatal, a hypothesis that is not supported by more recently reported cases. The symptoms associated with rupture vary from no symptoms to sudden death.

Methods: The present paper analyzes published cases of ruptured intracranial dermoid cysts in terms of their age profile and their clinical presentation and describes an additional case.

Results: Analysis of published cases revealed headache (14 out of 44 patients; 31.8%) and seizures (13 out of 44 patients; 29.5%), to be the most common signs of rupture followed by, often temporary, sensory or motor hemisyndrome (7 out of 44 patients; 15.9%), and chemical meningitis (3 out of 44 patients; 6.9%).

Conclusion: Headache occurred primarily in younger patients (mean age 23.5 +/- 9.3 years), whereas seizures primarily occurred in older patients (mean age 42.8 +/- 11.3 years). The patients with sensory or motor hemisyndrome associated with rupture of an intracranial dermoid cyst showed a more homogeneous age distribution (mean age 38.4 +/- 23.5 years).

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Dermoid Cyst / complications*
  • Dermoid Cyst / pathology*
  • Dermoid Cyst / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rupture, Spontaneous / complications
  • Rupture, Spontaneous / pathology
  • Rupture, Spontaneous / surgery