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Rady Children's Specialists

Benign tumors

A variety of benign tumors can appear in children, such as:

  • Dermoid cysts
  • Fibrous dysplasia
  • Skin nevi

Our pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeons are experts at removing benign tumors with preservation of cosmetic appearance and functional activity.

Dermoid Cysts

Dermoid cysts are small congenital tumors that contain skin cells, hair follicles, oil glands and smooth muscle cells. Often found behind the eyebrows, dermoids can occur anywhere on the skull and forehead. When they occur in the midline, an MRI or CT scan is necessary to determine if intracranial extension is present.

Endoscopic techniques can permit tumor removal through a smaller incision and resulting scar.

Treatment is generally simple and sometimes may be carried out with endoscopic techniques. Intracranial extension is found in approximately 36 percent of midline dermoids. For these children a team composed of a pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeon and a pediatric neurosurgeon will provide assurance of a safe and cosmetic removal.

Fibrous Dysplasia

Fibrous dysplasia is a benign congenital disease of unknown cause in which normal bone is replaced by fibrous tissue and immature bone. It may occur in a single bony site (monostotic) or in many bony sites (polyostotic). Because of its slow growth, the tumor is usually recognized in early childhood, and growth may stabilize in early adulthood or continue throughout life. In the skull, the maxilla and frontal bones are the most commonly involved.

Polyostotic involvement associated with cafe-au-lait skin spots and endocrine changes is called McCune-Albright syndrome.

Proliferation of the tumor can cause disfigurement and a variety of functional problems including:

  • Obstruction of nasal passages
  • Obstruction of sinuses
  • Obstruction of tear ducts
  • Displacement of the eye

A thorough evaluation by a pediatric dysmorphologist is necessary. Treatment of fibrous dysplasia is indicated for obstructive symptoms, visual disturbances and disfigurement. The multidisciplinary craniofacial team at Rady Children’s is experienced with the surgical procedures used to treat craniofacial fibrous dysplasia.