Dermoid Tumor

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Our expert neurosurgery team is committed to providing the finest and most comprehensive patient care. For help finding a neurosurgeon, call 310-825-5111.

About Dermoid Tumor

General Information

  • Normally benign, these slow-growing tumors can occur in various structures of the skull, spine and brain when normal developmental cells are trapped within the growing brain.
  • As the name implies, dermoid tumors contain skin-like elements (including hair and sweat glands). They are uncommon lesions, accounting for approximately 0.3% of all brain tumors.


  • Depending on the location of the tumor, symptoms can include seizures, fever, headaches, neck stiffness, facial pain, numbness, or weakness, and back pain.
  • Suprasellar (above the pituitary gland) dermoid tumors can present with vision difficulties and hormonal changes.
  • Sometimes, dermoid tumors present with signs and symptoms of meningitis.


  • Both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) brain scans can identify these tumors.


  • Surgery is the primary treatment. Steroid treatment may be necessary for meningitis-type symptoms.


  • Many intracranial and intraspinal cysts can be removed completely.
  • Occasional operative complications result from damage to nerves, blood vessels, or brain or spinal cord.

The Neuro-ICU cares for patients with all types of neurosurgical and neurological injuries, including stroke, brain hemorrhage, trauma and tumors. We work in close cooperation with your surgeon or medical doctor with whom you have had initial contact. Together with the surgeon or medical doctor, the NeuroICU attending physician and team members direct your family member's care while in the ICU.  The NeuroICU team consists of the bedside nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians in specialty training (Fellows) and attending physicians. UCLA Neuro ICU Family Guide