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What Is a Mature Teratoma?

A mature teratoma is a fascinating type of tumor, often benign, containing tissues like hair, muscle, and bone. These growths can seem surreal, as they arise from germ cells that have the potential to create any cell type. With captivating images, we reveal the complexities of these biological anomalies. What might you discover about the human body's mysteries within? Continue with us.
Stephany Seipel
Stephany Seipel

A mature teratoma, also called a dermoid cyst, is a growth that normally is present at birth and continues growing as the patient matures. The cyst is composed of bodily tissues such as teeth, skin, hair and fat. Mature teratomas are non-cancerous and usually are cured through surgical removal the cyst.

Some women develop mature teratomas on their ovaries. Although non-malignant, a mature teratoma can cause a variety of complications, such as infections and ruptured, rotated or twisted ovaries. Women between the ages of 20 and 40 are at the highest risk.

A surgical procedure called a salpingo-oophorectomy may be used to treat a mature teratoma.
A surgical procedure called a salpingo-oophorectomy may be used to treat a mature teratoma.

Mature teratomas can also form in the testes. Prepubertal teratomas form between the ages of 20 months and 4 years, and post-pubertal teratomas affect males between the ages of 20 and 40. Although most prepubertal cases involve a mature teratoma, this type of tumor is rare in adult males.

Some babies are born with sacrococcygeal teratomas, which are tumors that form near the backbone. Some tumors develop entirely on the outside of the body, and others are partially or completely internal. Sacrococcygeal teratomas can divert the blood flow from the fetus and might endanger the health of both the mother and the unborn baby.

Teratomas also can form in the mediastinum, which is the area between the lungs. Many mediastinal cysts do not produce symptoms. Doctors sometimes find them when treating unrelated illnesses or injuries.

Women between the ages of 20 and 40 are at the highest risk to develop mature teratomas.
Women between the ages of 20 and 40 are at the highest risk to develop mature teratomas.

A doctor who suspects that a patient has a mature teratoma might perform ultrasound tests to look inside the body. The doctor might perform X-rays to locate masses or use computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests to determine the cyst's density and boundaries. He or she might perform a needle biopsy to determine whether the cyst is malignant.

Some women develop mature teratomas on their ovaries.
Some women develop mature teratomas on their ovaries.

Doctors usually treat the condition by surgically removing the cyst. Sometimes the cysts are connected to other parts of the body, such as the lungs. If the doctor is unable to remove the entire tumor, he or she might remove part of it instead to provide the patient with relief from the symptoms. A mature teratoma usually does not grow back.

Medical practitioners treat testicular teratomas through a procedure called an orchiectomy, which removes the cyst along with the testicle. Women are treated either with a salpingo-oophorectomy, a procedure that removes the ovary, or with a cystectomy to remove only the cyst. Babies might undergo prenatal surgery if their health is at significant risk.

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    • A surgical procedure called a salpingo-oophorectomy may be used to treat a mature teratoma.
      By: llhedgehogll
      A surgical procedure called a salpingo-oophorectomy may be used to treat a mature teratoma.
    • Women between the ages of 20 and 40 are at the highest risk to develop mature teratomas.
      By: spotmatikphoto
      Women between the ages of 20 and 40 are at the highest risk to develop mature teratomas.
    • Some women develop mature teratomas on their ovaries.
      By: pankajstock123
      Some women develop mature teratomas on their ovaries.
    • The ovaries are glands where the female reproductive cells are produced.
      By: 7activestudio
      The ovaries are glands where the female reproductive cells are produced.
    • A teratoma may be discovered via ultrasound.
      By: Melinda Nagy
      A teratoma may be discovered via ultrasound.
    • Teratomas can form in the area between the lungs known as the mediastinum.
      By: CLIPAREA.com
      Teratomas can form in the area between the lungs known as the mediastinum.