Intracranial complications of midline nasal dermoid cysts

Dries Opsomer, Toon Allaeys, Ann-Sofie Alderweireldt, Edward Baert, Nathalie Roche
Acta Chirurgica Belgica 2017 December 4, : 1-4

BACKGROUND: Nasal dermoid cysts are common tumors in children. Due to anomalies in embryologic development of the nasal complex, sometimes an intracranial extension exists. When these cysts become infected they can lead to meningitis, brain abscess and death.

METHODS: We report the case of a 1.5-year-old girl admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit after infection of a nasal dermoid cyst.

RESULTS: The infant had a spiking fever and epileptic seizures. She was stabilized, intubated and a CT scan showed a subcutaneous mass with an adjacent zone of encephalitis and brain abscess formation. Neurosurgical interventions were necessary to lower intracranial pressure and control infectious spread. After a hospital stay of 69 days the child could be discharged. Due to her young age, irreversible brain damage is expected.

CONCLUSION: Nasal midline dermoid cysts are considered benign swellings. When an intracranial extension exists, infection can lead to deleterious complications. It is important for health care practitioners to be aware of this imminent risk. Suspicion of a nasal midline dermoid cyst should prompt a careful clinical work-up with an ultrasound followed by CT or MRI imaging. The treatment is complete excision to avoid disastrous complications and recurrences.

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