Dermoid cyst (also known as choristoma) is a benign tumor growing out of a embryonic suture line. The tumour consists of normal cells occurring in an abnormal location. It is usually diagnosed in children when it is first visible but it is not uncommon to have adults coming to the clinic to know if it can be removed.
The MRI scan showed a large intraconal well defined mass sitting right next to the optic nerve causing mass effect which in turn was causing diminution of vision. My working differentials going into surgery- based on location and imaging was Cavernous Hemangioma, Fibrous Histiocytoma, Dermoid cyst, Schwannoma among others.
Nothing beats the feeling of being able to remove a skull base tumour through a small incision in the upper eyelid crease. This here is after the tumour has been completely excised. This picture shows the amount of exposure we can achieve by just the orbital route and also that’s me admiring the orbital anatomy for a few seconds before closing up.
In an earlier era, these tumours would be removed via a craniotomy (brain surgery) by neurosurgeons or a disfiguring open surgery sometimes causing the loss of vision in the involved eye by other surgeons- that’s way too much morbidity for a benign tumour. But with the advent of modern day techniques and skilled oculoplastic surgeons performing orbitotomy today to remove such tumours, this surgery’s risks and complications is very low with the added advantage of a scarless as well as without even having to remove bone. This surgery is followed by a mostly uneventful recovery period.