Q:

What is a dermoid cyst, also known as teratoma?

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Quick Answer

A dermoid cyst, or teratoma is a growth that contains teeth, hair, skin, nerve tissue or fluid that is present in various parts of the body, according to WebMD. They most often occur in the ovaries, on the face, within the skull and on the lower back. People are born with them.

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Full Answer

These cysts grow slowly, and simpler ones on the surface of the skin are relatively easy to remove; however, cysts that grow in the brain, the sinuses and the spinal cord require a higher level of skill on the part of the surgeon, according to WebMD. Fortunately, dermoid cysts in these areas of the body are rare. When a teratoma is present in a woman's ovaries, a surgeon can remove it laparoscopically, with specialized surgical tools.

Dermoids occur when skin and the structures that support the skin become entrapped as the fetus develops in the womb, says WebMD. This is why the dermoid contains elements such as its own hair, teeth and skin. Dermoids are firm, do not cause pain unless they rupture and are usually not attached to the skin that covers them. A dermoid sometimes penetrates into a body cavity, such as the eye socket, but this is rare.

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