Epidermoid Cyst

Epidermoid cysts are benign masses that can arise over the surfaces of the brain.

Epidermoid cyst surgery is required to remove symptomatic cysts; fortunately, most can be removed through one of several keyhole routes depending upon cyst location and size.  At the BTC, we have the best surgeon for epidermal cyst removal and have vast experience in minimally invasive surgical approaches for all types of brain and skull base tumors. By incorporating cutting edge technology and instrumentation with proven surgical experience, we make surgery safer, less invasive and more effective.

Learn more about our multidisciplinary team of Neurosurgery, Radiation Oncology, Otolaryngology, Neuro-oncology, Neuro-ophthalmology, Endocrinology and Neuropathology. 

Overview

These relatively uncommon benign cysts or tumors arise from stratified squamous epithelium over the surface of the brain. The most common locations are around the brainstem, Pituitary Gland and in the posterior fossa along the cerebellum and brainstem. 

Symptoms

As the epithelial lining continues to produce the soft white keratin material, the cyst puts pressure on the adjacent brain structures and can cause headaches, weakness, imbalance, visual loss or seizures depending upon the cyst location. Some epidermoid cysts can rupture and result in a meningitis type reaction from inflammation. 

Diagnosis

These cystic tumors are typically diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography (CT) scans of the brain. Depending upon the location of an epidermoid cyst, a focused MRI of the pituitary region or internal auditory canals may be indicated to obtain better anatomical detail. 

Treatment

Epidermoid cyst surgery is required to remove large epidermoid tumors causing symptoms and is generally quite successful in resolving symptoms. Because the cyst lining can be very adherent to the brain structures a complete cyst removal may not be possible in many patients. If only a subtotal removal is accomplished, follow-up MRIs are necessary for many years to monitor for recurrence. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are generally not used for treating epidermoid cysts.

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