BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The medical world witnessed an unusual discovery when brain tissue, pieces of skull and hair was found forming an ovarian tumor detected on a 16-year-old patient. The Japanese Society of Neuropathology reported the case detected while the teen girl was undergoing an emergency appendicitis surgery.
During the surgery, the girl was discovered to have large, bilateral, mostly cystic masses on her ovaries. The tumors were removed three months later and found to contain brain and brainstem tissue, along with hair and greasy material. The brain tissue resembled cerebellar features and a thin bone which was encasing it resembled skull formations. The patient presented no neurological symptoms and no complications.
Such cystic masses (teratomas) are most commonly benign. They usually appear in the ovary, testicle or other extra-gonadal locations. They usually include skin, fat, thyroid/endocrine, teeth or connective tissue elements. Although benign, they can cause secondary problems, depending on their placement and the impact the content of the cyst may have.
Ovarian teratomas may cause the ovary to twist and untwist on itself from the weight. The torsion may diminish the blood supply of the ovary and, if not treated or removed in due time, the life of the ovary may be at risk. Of course, this depends on the size of the teratoma.
The majority of these cases have been discovered by accident or signaled by acute abdominal pain. Symptoms are usually not prominent. If they are not discovered in time and the cyst is too big, they can rupture and cause complications, including bleeding, shock or general abdominal infection.
The case of this 16-year-old patient is rare, but not new. Sometimes, CNS (central nervous system) tissue is found in teratomas. Such cases are associated with a type of encephalitis present in the patient. This is shown by viral symptoms followed by neurological impairment ranging from seizures to psychosis. Older studies showed that CNS tissue found in teratomas prompted the apparition of this brain disorder. However, the case presented by the Japanese Society showed no neurological symptoms at all.
The human body is capable of transformations nobody could have thought of to be possible, but it continues to amaze scientists with continuous adaptations. Fortunately, the advances in medicine allow us to intervene just in time to prevent whatever degeneration may occur.
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