Ovarian teratomas are a rare type of tumor in the ovaries that are made up of developed tissues and organs such as the hair, teeth, muscle, and bone. When viewed under a microscope, ovarian teratomas look like three layers of a developing embryo.
Teratomas can occur in newborns, children, and adults and are most common in women in their 20s. They are usually benign, although some may be cancerous and require surgical removal and/or chemotherapy:
- Surgery: Laparoscopic surgical removal is usually the first treatment option:
- A small incision is made in the abdomen, and a laparoscope with a small cutting tool is inserted through the incision to remove the teratoma.
- If the ovarian teratoma is large, a surgeon may remove a part or all of the ovary. The remaining ovary will continue processes of ovulation and hormone secretion will continue from the remaining ovary.
- Complications can occur if the teratoma ruptures during removal and leaks out a waxy material, which may result in an inflammatory response known as chemical peritonitis.
- Even after surgical removal, teratomas may grow back.
- Chemotherapy: Malignant teratomas are treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, with chemotherapy following surgical removal.
What causes ovarian teratomas?
Ovarian teratomas develop in germ cells, which are produced during the early stages of fetus development and are capable of differentiating into cells specialized for different functions.
Ovarian teratomas result from complications in the cell differentiation and specialization processes.
Types of ovarian teratomas
There are three types of ovarian teratomas:
- Mature teratomas
- Immature teratomas
- Monodermal teratomas
Mature teratomas are generally benign, with only about 1%-3% being cancerous. They are usually found in women in their reproductive years.
Mature teratomas vary greatly in appearance, and maybe further classified as follows:
- Cystic: Self-enclosed in a fluid-containing sac
- Solid: Made up of tissues but not self-enclosed
- Mixed: Contains solid and cystic parts
Mature cystic teratomas, also known as dermoid cysts, contain structures characteristic of normal skin, complete with other tissues like hair follicles, hair (sometimes abundant clumps of long hair), sweat glands with pockets of sebum, blood, fat (93%), bone, nails, teeth, eyes, cartilage, and thyroid tissue. Diameter is typically less than 10 centimeters and rarely more than 15 centimeters.
Immature teratomas are more likely to develop into malignant cancer and are made up of tissues derived from the three germ layers. They are rare and generally found in girls and women under the age of 20.
Monodermal teratomas are predominantly made up of only one type of tissue. The three main subtypes are:
- Struma ovarii
- Carcinoid tumors
- Neural tumors
What are signs and symptoms of ovarian teratoma?
Ovarian teratomas usually don’t present symptoms at first. As the teratomas develop, symptoms may include:
- Abdominal swelling
- Distended veins over the skin
- Intense pain in the pelvis or abdomen caused by ovarian torsion (twisting of the ovary) because of the growing mass
How are ovarian teratomas diagnosed?
Ovarian teratomas are often diagnosed during routine gynecologic examinations.
Top How Are Ovarian Teratomas Treated? Related Articles
What Can I Expect After a Laparoscopic Ovarian Cystectomy?An ovarian cystectomy is a surgery performed to remove sac-like fluid pockets (cyst) from your ovary (a woman’s reproductive organ). These cysts cause problems in menses and infertility.
CA 125 Ovarian Tumor Marker Blood TestCA 125 is a protein, and a tumor marker or biomarker. CA 125 is present in greater concentration in ovarian cancer cells than in other cells. CA stands for cancer antigen. Increases in CA 125 can also occur with malignant tumors of the Fallopian tubes, lining of the uterus, lung, breast, and gastrointestinal track. Benign conditions such as infections of the abdomen, chest, menstruation, endometriosis, benign tumors of the ovaries, and liver disease can also raise CA 125.
Can a Blood Test Detect Ovarian Cancer?A doctor may advise a blood test to patients having ovarian cancer. A cancer antigen-125 (CA-125) blood test is usually recommended to measure the levels of a protein called CA-125, which could be elevated in women who have ovarian cancer. This test is also used during the treatment of ovarian cancer because the level of this protein goes down as the tumor shrinks. This protein is elevated in more than 80 percent of women with advanced ovarian cancers and 50 percent of those with early-stage cancers.
Can You Be Fully Cured of Ovarian Cancer?Around two in ten women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer are effectively cured and survive at least 12 years after the treatment as per the research. Your response to cancer therapy and chances for a cure depend on the type and the staging of ovarian cancer at the time of diagnosis.
Ovarian CancerThere are many types of ovarian cancer, epithelial carcinoma is the most common. Women with a family history of ovarian cancer have an increased risk of developing the disease. Some ovarian cancer symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and abnormal vaginal bleeding, however, they usually do not present until the disease has progressed. Early diagnosis is important for successful treatment.
Ovarian Cancer SlidesOvarian cancer symptoms and signs include abdominal pain, bloating, frequent urination, and a feeling of fullness. Ovarian cancer treatment depends on the stage and may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted therapy.
Ovarian Cancer QuizHow common is ovarian cancer and who is at risk? Take our Ovarian Cancer Quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatment for this disease.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled, sac-like structures within an ovary. Symptoms of an ovarian cysts may be:
- Pain in the belly or pelvis
- A feeling for the need to have a bowel movement
- Urgency to urinate
- Pain during intercourse.
There are a variety of causes and types of ovarian cysts, and treatment depends upon type of cyst.
Ovarian CystsWhat is an ovarian cyst? Ovarian cyst types vary, and they can cause many symptoms, including abdominal pain. Discover how to tell if you have a ruptured ovarian cyst.
What Are Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Symptoms?Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also known by the name Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a hormonal problem that causes women to have a variety of symptoms including irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, obesity, and excess hair growth. Treatment of PCOS depends partially on the woman's stage of life and the symptoms of PCOS.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Ovarian Cyst Removal?Cyst removal is major surgery. Hence, it is important to make sure you take enough rest and give your body time for recuperation. Time taken to recover from the surgery is different for everyone. It takes around 12 weeks for the body to complete the healing process.
What Is The Main Cause of Ovarian Cysts?Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled growths that grow on the ovary. Learn the signs of an ovarian cyst, what causes ovarian cysts, how doctors diagnose ovarian cysts, and what you can do to treat an ovarian cyst. Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovaries that produce eggs. Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, abdominal pain, reduced appetite, bloating, pelvic pain, constipation and an increased urge to urinate.
What Was Your First Sign of Ovarian Cancer?Like all types of cancer, ovarian cancer is often asymptomatic. The first signs of ovarian cancer may vary from patient to patient. Typically, ovarian cancer symptoms might appear as common stomach and digestive problems that are often mistaken for minor ailments.