Common Childhood Conditions

Dermoid Cysts

What is a dermoid cyst?

Dermoid cysts are cysts that form in or on the skin, usually on the face near the eyebrow, on the scalp or on the chest over the collarbone. They might contain fluid, pus or a thick, white material similar to what is in a pimple.

Sometimes dermoid cysts extend below the skin and may penetrate the bone. Very rarely, dermoid cysts develop inside the body.

Dermoid cysts do not go away on their own. They are removed because they may become infected or may get bigger with time.

Dermoid Cysts in Children

Dermoid cysts develop during pregnancy. They occur when skin cells and things like hair, sweat glands, oil glands or fatty tissue get trapped in the skin as a baby grows in the womb. Dermoid cysts are present at birth (congenital) and are common. It can be months or years before you notice a dermoid cyst on your child because the cysts grow slowly.

Dermoid cyst symptoms are minor, and the cysts are usually painless. They aren’t harmful to your child’s health. If they become infected, the infection must be treated and the cyst should be removed. It is easier to remove cysts and prevent scars if the cyst is removed before it gets infected.

Dermoid Cysts at Seattle Children’s

Dermoid cyst treatment is surgery to remove the cyst. Surgeons remove dermoid cysts to prevent infection or because you or your child doesn’t like how it looks. Our general and thoracic surgery team sees many children of all ages with these cysts and has experience removing them from wherever they occur in the body.

Dermoid cyst surgery is usually a simple outpatient procedure. This means your child won’t need to stay in the hospital overnight.

When you come to Seattle Children’s, we connect you with a team of people — including nurses, child life specialists and social workers — who work together to care for all of your child’s needs and help your family through this experience.

Contact Us

To learn more about dermoid cyst treatment at Seattle Children’s, call our General and Thoracic Surgery Department at 206-987-2794 x4.