Considerations in the management of congenital cranial dermoid cysts

J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2017 Jul;20(1):30-34. doi: 10.3171/2017.2.PEDS16701. Epub 2017 Apr 21.


OBJECTIVE Congenital dermoid cysts (CDCs) develop from the entrapment of the surface ectoderm along the lines of embryonic fusion and have a capacity to grow. Given this capacity for continual expansion, the timing of removal and anticipation of possible epidural extension is important. METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed records of patients with the diagnosis of dermoid cyst presenting over a period of 10 years. Baseline characteristics, histological reports, and surgical records were collected and analyzed. Only those patients with histological confirmation of dermoid cyst were included in the study. RESULTS One hundred fifty-nine (64 male and 95 female) patients were studied. The average age at the time of surgery ranged from 1 month to 63 years (mean 3.55 ± 9.58 years, median 11 months). Eighteen (11.3%) CDCs were in the midline anterior fontanelle, 52 (32.7%) were frontozygomatic, 14 (8.8%) occurred along the coronal sutures, and 75 (47.2%) occurred along the lambdoid sutures. In 74 (46.5%) cases the cysts were found to insignificantly erode the cranium, 30 (18.9%) eroded through a partial thickness of the cranium, 47 (29.6%) eroded through the full thickness of the cranium, and 8 (5.0%) eroded through the full thickness of the cranium and demonstrated epidural extension. The study population showed female predominance (n = 95, 59.7%). Although cyst location and patient sex were not found to vary significantly with cranial involvement (p = 0.196 and p = 0.066, respectively), delay in time to surgery did vary significantly (p < 0.00001). CONCLUSIONS Congenital cranial dermoid cysts found in infants and children are best removed early.

Keywords: CDC = congenital dermoid cyst; congenital dermoid cysts; cranial erosion; epidural extension; oncology.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cranial Sutures / pathology
  • Cranial Sutures / surgery
  • Dermoid Cyst / pathology
  • Dermoid Cyst / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Skull Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skull Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult