School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date




Dermoid cysts are rare lesions generally associated with embryological errors that occur during neural tube closure. Intramedullary lesions are extremely rare, especially within the upper thoracic spinal cord.

Case presentation

We report a case of a 19-year-old male who had an intramedullary thoracic dermoid cyst presenting with progressive ataxia, lower limb weakness, and hyperreflexia. MRI demonstrated a 1.2 × 1.8-cm intramedullary thoracic dermoid cyst causing significant spinal cord compression, which was successfully removed via full resection. The patient had an uncomplicated postoperative course, with improvement in preoperative deficits.


This is a unique case documenting a thoracic spinal cord intramedullary dermoid cyst not associated with trauma or congenital abnormality of the spinal cord.


We highlight the importance of future inclusion of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging (DWI) with apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), an imaging modality that detects differences in cellularity of spinal cord lesions, for earlier diagnosis of dermoid cyst.


© 2022 The Authors.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title

Annals of medicine and surgery



Academic Level

medical student



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.