Ovarian Cysts

Dermoid Ovarian Cysts By The Numbers – Who it affects, How Common They Are And The Risks Of Serious Complications

Dermoid ovarian cysts, also called cystic teratomas, affect a woman’s ovaries. They are unusual in that unlike most cysts that only contain fluids, these cysts usually contain fully formed tissues of the skin, thyroid, eyes, hair and even bones. This is one of the reason that they are sometimes referred to as monster cysts.

MedicineNet, Radiopaedia and MedScape have interesting statistics on these types of ovarian cysts. Here is a summary of the interesting bits.

30 yrs

This is the average age of the people that are most affected by ovarian cyst teratomas.


The percentage of women with dermoid cysts who end up having the cysts in both ovaries. This usually complicates things. If ovarian torsion occurs in both ovaries, then the risks of infertility increase.

Pregnancy and getting pregnant


The general maximum diameter of dermoid ovarian cysts. Of course this doesn’t mean that there aren’t ovarian teratomas that exceed 17 inches. There is always room for outliers.


Dermoid cysts are the most common type of cysts found in women under 20 years.


This is the percentage of cystic teratomas that are benign – that is noncancerous dermoid cysts. That leaves about 2% of dermoid ovarian cysts that develop signs of cancer.


This is the year that the term dermoid cyst was first used in a book. Actually, the actual terms that was used was “kyste dermoid”. And No, it wasn’t in relation to human ovarian cysts. The term was used by Leblanc. He used it when describing a lesion that he had found in a horse’s skull.


The year that dermoid ovarian cysts first got the cystic teratoma name. Teratoma is a word that was derived from the Greek word teras which essentially means monster. It was first used by a person called Virchow in his book about tumors.


Ovarian teratomas are notorious for causing ovarian torsion – twisting of the ovaries. It is estimated that about 16% of dermoid ovarian cyst cases usually end up with ovarian torsion complications.

This is a potentially life-threatening complication that is usually signaled by sharp pelvic or ovarian pain. It is a condition that may also make it difficult for women to get pregnant.


This is the percentage of dermoid cyst cases that result in ovarian cyst rupture.

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Not all cystic teratomas end up with fully formed organ structures. But a significant number does. Studies put the number at 30%.

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