A dermoid cyst is a teratoma of a cystic nature that contains an array of developmentally mature, solid tissues. It frequently consists of skin, hair follicles, and sweat glands, while other commonly found components include clumps of long hair, pockets of sebum, blood, fat, bone, nails, teeth, eyes, cartilage, and thyroid tissue.
As dermoid cysts grow slowly and contain mature tissue, this type of cystic teratoma is nearly always benign. In those rare cases wherein the dermoid cyst is malignant, a squamous cell carcinoma usually develops in adults, while infants and children usually present with an endodermal sinus tumor.
Treatment for dermoid cyst is complete surgical removal, preferably in one piece and without any spillage of cyst contents. Marsupialization, a surgical technique often used to treat pilonidal cyst, is inappropriate for dermoid cyst due to the risk of malignancy.
The association of dermoid cysts with pregnancy has been increasingly reported. They usually present the dilemma of weighing the risks of surgery and anesthesia versus the risks of untreated adnexal mass. Most references state that it is more feasible to treat bilateral dermoid cysts of the ovaries discovered during pregnancy if they grow beyond 6 cm in diameter. This is usually performed through laparotomy or very carefully through laparoscopy and should preferably be done in the second trimester.