Craniocerebral epidermoid and dermoid tumours: a review of 32 cases

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 1994;128(1-4):115-21. doi: 10.1007/BF01400660.


We reviewed 22 epidermoid and 10 dermoid tumours of the skull and brain from patients operated on consecutively at Henry Ford Hospital between 1975 and 1991. There were 19 intradural (16 epidermoid, 3 dermoid) and 13 extradural (6 epidermoid, 7 dermoid) lesions. The average age at presentation was 35 years for patients with epidermoids and 15 years for those with dermoids. Common clinical presentations for patients with intradural lesions included headache, visual deficits, and seizures, whereas patients with extradural lesions harbored asymptomatic scalp masses. All patients with intradural lesions were investigated with computed tomography (CT) and cerebral angiography, and 8 patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Total resection was possible in 12 (92%) of 13 extradural tumours, all with excellent outcomes. Eight (42%) of the intradural tumours were completely resected. Overall, with the intradural tumours we had good to excellent results in 17 patients (90%), poor results in 1 (5%), and 1 death (5%). Re-operation was needed in 5 intradural recurrences (26%) with deterioration in only one patient's neurologic status postoperatively. From a review of ours and others' data, we conclude that 1) these tumours have an insidious onset despite significant size and mass effect as demonstrated by imaging studies; 2) CT, angiography, and particularly MRI help to define the extent of subarachnoid tumour spread and involvement of neurovascular structures, thus permitting better surgical planning; 3) a significant number of intradural tumours are difficult to excise because of their adherence to neurovascular structures, and thus are related to higher morbidity and mortality; and 4) because of extremely slow growth, complete tumour resection should not be the goal at the risk of injury to neurovascular structures.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermoid Cyst / diagnosis*
  • Dermoid Cyst / diagnostic imaging
  • Dermoid Cyst / surgery
  • Epidermal Cyst / diagnosis*
  • Epidermal Cyst / diagnostic imaging
  • Epidermal Cyst / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skull Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skull Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Skull Neoplasms / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome