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Year : 2002  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 148-150

Primary benign para-adrenal teratoma in an adult

Department of Urology, Kothari Medical Centre and Research Institute, Kolkata, India

Correspondence Address:
B Mukherjee
Department of Urology, Kothari Medical Centre & Research Institute, 8/3, Alipore Road, Kolkata - 700 027
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A 38-year-old male presented with right hypochon­dralgia and backache for two rears. Plain X-ray KUB showed a radio-opaque calculus in the left renal area. Urinalysis and culture were negative. IVU (after a nor­mal serum urea and creatinine report) showed the char­acteristic tooth-like calcification to be situated above and medial to the upper pole of left kidney which itself is de­formed and pushed downwards. CT scan with contrast showed a mass of approx. 6.5 x 6.5 cm with central hypodense area and surrounding dense wall adherent to the adjacent retroperitoneum and major vessels. A solid calcified element (dermoid plug) was seen projecting into the cavity. On exploration, the para-adrenal mass was found to be adherent to the aorta and adjacent struc­tures. The offensive cheesy content was first removed, followed by gradual and careful separation of the wall in parts, thus avoiding injury to the major vessels. The wall contained several abortive tooth structures, hair shafts and skin-like lining. Histopathology showed sev­eral ectodermal structures (tooth, hair follicles, sweat and sebaceous glands etc), but no immature element. The patient recovered uneventfully and is doing well at present.

Keywords: Retroperitoneal Teratoma; Dermoid Cyst

How to cite this article:
Chakraborty J N, Mondol N K, Mahapatra P, Mukherjee B. Primary benign para-adrenal teratoma in an adult. Indian J Urol 2002;18:148-50

How to cite this URL:
Chakraborty J N, Mondol N K, Mahapatra P, Mukherjee B. Primary benign para-adrenal teratoma in an adult. Indian J Urol [serial online] 2002 [cited 2023 Mar 28];18:148-50. Available from:

   Introduction Top

The vast majority of benign (mature) teratomas are cystic and are better known in clinical parlance as der­moid cysts. Primary benign retroperitoneal teratoma is a rare tumour in the adult population. In this case, we described a case of primary benign cystic teratoma located in the vicinity of the upper pole of left kidney (Para­adrenal).

   Case Report Top

A 38-year-old male presented with pain in the upper ab­domen and back since two years. The pain was dull aching in nature and used to aggravate on walking or jolting. There had been a few episodes of burning micturition. An X-ray KUB showed a radio opaque shadow in the left renal area at the junction of Ll-L2 vertebra which was assumed to be a left renal calculus by his physician and advised operation. But the patient refused operation and after two years, the persistent pain led him to our institute, when an IVU (after a normal serum urea and creatinine report) showed the char­acteristic tooth-like calcification to be situated above and medial to the left kidney, which itself was pushed down­wards and laterally [Figure - 1]. The excretory function was nor­mal on both sides. Urinalysis and culture was negative. USG revealed a heterogenous retroperitoneal (a complex mass of anechoic and echogenic components) situated in between the aorta and upper pole of left kidney. Axial and coronal CT scan with contrast showed an irregular, thick walled, rounded retroperitoneal mass (6.5 x 6.5 cm approx.) behind and inseparable from the tail of pancreas with a deformed, deviated left kidney and evidence of apparent invasion into the adjacent retroperitoneum [Figure - 2]. The mass had a cen­tral hypodense area (fatlike) with multiple large calcified shadows as well as air pockets. The first provisional diag­nosis was infected dermoid cyst although the possibility of a cystic pancreatic neoplasm was kept in mind.

Abdomen was explored by a roof-top incision - the left colon and splenic flexure mobilised to the right. A retro­peritoneal cystic bulge was seen at the para-aortic region medial to the upper pole of left kidney [Figure - 3]. After initial check aspiration showing very offensive, cheesy material, excision of the cyst started, but it was found to be adherent to the lateral wall of aorta, coeliac axis and other adjacent structures. Hence the cyst was removed keeping the right lateral wall intact and the inner lining was excised very care­fully. As the wall was adherent to the contiguous retroperi­toneal and adjacent structures (and also keeping in mind its proximity to major vessels), the thick wall was removed carefully part by part. The wall was very thick and con­tained abortive tooth structures, hair and thicked epithe­lium mimicking epidermis [Figure - 4]. Histopathological study also revealed sebaceous and sweat glands, hair shafts, cartilage, tooth structures and stratified squamous epithe­lium. No immature element was detected. A drainage tube was left in the retroperitoneal cavity which was removed on the 10 th postoperative day. The patient recovered un­eventfully and is presently doing well.

   Discussion Top

Primary retroperitoneal teratomas are rare in adults. Approximately 3% of all teratomas occur at the extragona­dal sites (retroperitoneum, floor of mouth, mediastinum, thyroid, urinary bladder and kidney). Retroperitoneal ter­atomas represent only 1% of all teratomas. [1] They are be­lieved to originate from totipotent germ cells. Though solid teratomas may contain tissues from all three germ layers (ectoderm, endoderm, mesoderm), cystic teratomas usually contain only ectodermal elements. They may have both mature and immature elements. Malignant transfor­mation in a cystic teratoma may occur in a foci of imma­ture element and the usual type is a squamous cell carcinoma, though other types of malignancy may also be seen. Para-adrenal teratomas usually present with hypo­chondralgia during exercise. [2] Physical examination is usu­ally normal. Plain antero-posterior radiograph of abdomen can show irregular, multiple tooth-like calcification within the left or right upper quadrant, [3] which may be misinter­preted as renal calculus unless confirmed by other imaging studies. A benign cystic teratoma in juxta-pancreatic lo­cation may also present as an inflammatory or neoplastic pancreatic cyst [5] and in that location, Bacteriodes fragilis infection of the cyst is also reported. [5] Transabdominal ul­trasonography usually shows a complex mass of anechoic and echogenic components characteristic of a dermoid cyst. [4] CT scan and MRI findings are characteristic and diagnos­tic, showing central hypodense area (representing fat or sebaceous material), the surrounding well-demarcated wall and irregular, toothlike calcifications in it. [3],[10] The solid ele­ment arising from the wall (the dermoid plug), when dem­onstrated, is very characteristic of cystic teratomas.[2],[9]

Laparoscopy may be helpful in detecting the exact lo­cation of the cyst, but if it fails, intraoperative ultrasound is often beneficial in confirming the presence and exact location of a cystic retroperitoneal teratoma. [8] The mar­gins of a benign cystic teratoma are usually well demar­cated and completely separated from adjacent structures [6] , when total removal can be attempted. But when there is gross adhesion to contiguous anatomical structures, close proximity to major vessels or unexpected operative diffi­culties due to the expansive volume, [7] total removal may be associated with significant morbidity and mortality. [8] In these situations, initial decompression with careful removal of the wall in parts may have to be chosen, as we have done in this particular case.

   References Top

1.Bhalla S, Misih K, Rana RS. Teratomas of rare sites : a review of ten cases. J Indian Med Assoc 1991; 89: 291-294.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Hirano S, Kawaguchi S, Mikawa I et al. Primary retroperitoneal teratoma in an adult: ultrasonographic, computer tomographic and magnetic resonance imaging demonstrations. Hinyokika Kiyo 1988:34: 2031-2034.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Terada Y. Kato A, Kishi H et al. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging of a benign cystic teratoma in the retroperitoneum. J Urol 1987; 137: 106-108.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Kanizsai B, Turi Z, Orley J et al. Sonographic diagnosis of a retro­peritoneal dermoid cyst in a young girl. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 1998; 12: 367-368.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Dewar G, Arnold M, Li AK. Retroperitoneal dermoid presenting as an infected pancreatic cyst. Aust NZ J Surg 1990; 60: 488-489.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Yokoyama O, Nakajima K, Nakashima T et al. Benign retroperito­neal cystic teratoma with postoperative ascites - a case report. Hinyokika Kiyo 1988; 34: 1639-1643.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Danieli D, Serio G, Tenchini P et al. Cystic neoformations of the retroperitoneal space. Chir Ital 1983; 35: 157-179.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Sharpe LA, Van Oppen DJ. Laparoscopic removal of a benign pel­vic retroperitoneal dermoid cyst. J Am Assoc Gynecol Laparosc 1995; 2: 223-226.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Bellin MF, Duron JJ, Curet P et al. Primary retroperitoneal teratoma in the adult : Correlation of features with CT and Pathology.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Crantson PE, McPherson SH. Para-adrenal teratoma : CT presenta­tion. South Med J 1989; 82: 518-519.  Back to cited text no. 10    


  [Figure - 1], [Figure - 2], [Figure - 3], [Figure - 4]

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