Article

Teratoma of the anterior mediastinum presenting as a cystic neck mass: a case report

Department of Endocrine Surgery, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, India.
Journal of Medical Case Reports 02/2008; 2:23. DOI: 10.1186/1752-1947-2-23
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Teratomas of anterior mediastinum are rare tumors and are often slow growing, asymptomatic and detected incidentally on chest imaging. Results of surgical resection are very satisfactory.
A 19-years old male presented with an asymptomatic cystic neck mass. X-ray and CT scan of chest and neck showed an extrathyroidal multi-septate, predominantly cystic neck mass, that was continuous with a solid intrathoracic mass extending up to the level of right atrium and which contained areas of calcification and cystic necrosis. The mediastinal structures did not show any features of compression or infiltration. Fine needle aspiration cytology from the neck mass was suggestive of a dermoid cyst. In view of the extent and uncertain pathological nature of the tumor, it was excised via a combined cervical and trans-sternal route. Histo-pathology of the resected specimen confirmed the diagnosis of a mature cystic teratoma. The patient made an uneventful recovery, and after five years of follow-up, he has been symptom free with no clinical or radiological evidence of recurrent disease. We discuss the role of imaging and the need for surgical treatment to avoid possible catastrophic complications in patients with cervical and mediastinal masses of uncertain histological nature.
A mediastinal teratoma may rarely present as a cystic neck swelling due to its cephalad extension. This entity needs to be considered in cases where clinical and investigative work-up fail to provide a convincing clue to a primary neck pathology as cause of a cystic neck swelling.

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