What is teratoma?

Cervical teratoma is a condition in which there is an overgrowth of fetal tissue in the region of the neck. Its cause is unknown. These lesions can grow quite large and extend from the neck into the lower and ear region, potentially blocking the airway. This condition is extremely rare.

How is this condition managed during pregnancy?

Serial ultrasound and MRI imaging are recommended to observe the lesion over time and develop a delivery plan to maximize a positive outcome. A teratoma can hinder the ability to swallow amniotic fluid in utero, leading to excess amniotic fluid volume, or polyhydramnios. Polyhydramnios can lead to premature rupture of membranes (breaking the water) and early labor and delivery. Prenatal care will be managed by a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, an obstetrician with special training and expertise in high-risk pregnancies. Consultations with neonatology and pediatric subspecialty surgeons are recommended to discuss prognosis, delivery planning, and management after birth.

How is this condition managed after delivery?

Once delivered, a teratoma may obstruct the newborn’s airway and cause breathing difficulties. In these serious cases, a special delivery procedure may be recommended whereby the newborn is intubated during delivery while still connected to the placenta. Additional surgery to remove the tumor is needed. Long-term prognosis depends on the size of the mass and the surgery needed to remove it.