Oropharyngeal dermoid cyst in an infant with intermittent airway obstruction a case report

Matthias W. Wagner, Bereketeab Haileselassie, Sujatha Kannan, Cynthia Chen, Andrea Poretti, David E. Tunkel, Thierry A.G.M. Huisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dermoid cysts are benign epithelial inclusions and cystic lesions that may occur in several locations including the oropharynx. We describe the case of a two-month-old baby girl who presented with progressive respiratory distress, hypoxemia, and feeding difficulties because of an oropharyngeal dermoid cyst. The child had an airway work-up that included laryngoscopy. However, the mass remained undetected. This is most likely explained by the mobile nature of the lesion, prolapsing into the high nasopharynx in supine position. In our patient, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), initially performed to rule out brainstem pathology, revealed an oropharyngeal dermoid cyst. This case shows the potential role of neuroimaging in the diagnostic work-up of a young child presenting with respiratory distress by excluding a central nervous system lesion and diagnosing an "unexpected" nasopharyngeal mass lesion. In addition, MRI allowed exclusion of skull base lesions of neural origin such as an anterior meningoencephalocele or heterotopic neuroglial tissue which would be managed differently from pharyngeal masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-631
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroradiology Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Children
  • Dermoid cyst
  • Neuroimaging
  • Oropharynx
  • Respiratory distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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