Ovarian Cysts Types Dermoid

Having an ovarian cyst is common among women during their reproductive years. An ovarian cyst is usually a sac of fluid, blood or tissue that develops in an ovary or on its surface. Most ovarian cysts are harmless and cause no symptoms. Some cause pain, and a very small percentage lead to ovarian cancer.

Ovarian dermoid cysts are relatively uncommon cysts that range in size from one centimeter to greater than 60 centimeters in diameter. Dermoid cysts form from a germ cell present in mature ovarian tissue. A germ cell is a “primitive” cell that contains the information and ability to differentiate into a number of different mature tissue types. Dermoid ovarian cysts can contain:

  • Fat
  • Fluid
  • Hair
  • Skin
  • Teeth.

Dermoid cysts often grow very slowly and don’t become tender unless they rupture. Most women only develop dermoid cysts in one ovary, but approximately 10 to 15 percent of women who develop ovarian dermoid cysts have them occur in both ovaries.

Ovarian Dermoid Cysts and Pregnancy

Ovarian dermoid cysts and dermoid cyst removal usually doesn’t affect fertility or pregnancy. However, their size can cause problems that require surgical removal.

Dermoid Cyst Symptoms and Treatment

Ovarian dermoid cysts most often don’t require treatment or removal. However, they may become inflamed or cause the ovary to twist, a condition known as ovarian torsion. Ovarian torsion can cut off blood supply to the ovary, resulting in ovarian ischemia and necrosis, and may cause severe pain. This condition may require emergency surgery.

Some doctors might recommend limiting strenuous activity that could rupture an ovarian dermoid cyst.

Traditional surgery or laparoscopy can both be used to remove ovarian dermoid cysts. The larger the dermoid cyst, the more complicated the surgery. A larger ovarian cyst may have a higher risk of rupture, which spills the cysts contents into the surrounding ovary and body cavity. A ruptured dermoid cyst can cause ovarian:

  • Adhesions
  • Infection
  • Pain.

A laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique sometimes called keyhole surgery or pinhole surgery. Laparoscopy incisions are usually very small, and several are made in the lower abdominal area. A thin tube is inserted through the incision. A fiber-optic camera and surgical tools are then threaded through the tube.

When removing ovarian dermoid cysts, a laparoscopy tends to:

  • Cause less pain
  • Have shorter recovery time
  • Reduce surgical scarring.

A large ovarian dermoid cyst, however, may require more conventional surgical techniques to safely remove it.

Ovarian Cancer and Dermoid Cysts

A small percentage of dermoid cysts, about 2 percent, develop into ovarian cancer. These dermoid cysts usually occur in women over the age of 40, and require surgical removal.

Due to the risk of ovarian cancer, dermoid ovarian cysts should be closely monitored for changes in size and shape. Although most will disappear over time, women with a family history of ovarian cancer should have all cysts checked carefully by a physician.


eMedicineHealth Staff. (n.d.). Dermoid cyst removal. Retrieved February 14, 2010, from the eMedicineHealth Web site: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/dermoid_cyst_removal/article_em.htm.

MedicineNet.com Staff. (1999). Definition of dermoid cyst of the ovary. Retrieved February 14, 2010, from the MedicineNet Web site: http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2960.

National Women’s Health Information Center Staff. (2008). Ovarian cysts. Retrieved February 14, 2010, from the Women’s Health Web site: http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/ovarian-cysts.cfm.

Shanahan, K. (n.d.). Ovarian health: What is a dermoid cyst? Retrieved February 14, 2010, from the Your Total Health Web site: http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/ovarian-health-what-dermoid-cyst.html.