11 July 2024

Doctors at Sichon Hospital, in Thailand’s southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, recently operated on a 17-year-old woman to remove a cyst from her ovary, which was found to contain hair, bone, teeth, fingernails and an oily material.

The hospital’s director, Dr. Arak Wongworachat, later wrote in his Facebook post that the young woman was not a victim of black magic, as some locals suspected due to the discovery of a diversity tissues in her ovary, but he explained that the unnamed woman suffered from dermoid cyst of the ovary, or ovarian teratomas.

A dermoid cyst of the ovary is usually benign. It typically contains a diversity of tissues, such as hair, teeth, bone and etc. It develops from a totipotential germ cell that is retained within the ovary. That cell can give rise to all orders of cells necessary to form mature tissue and often recognizable structures, such as hair, bone and oily material, neural tissue and teeth.

The cyst can range in size from 1cm to 45cm in diameter.

In his post, Dr. Arak said that the woman was rushed to the hospital last week with acute abdominal pain, thought to be appendicitis by her relatives.

The woman reportedly told a doctor in the emergency room that, two days ago, she felt a sudden but brief stomach ache, but the pain returned and increased in the evening to the point that she could not sleep. The pain subsided the next day, after she took some pain killers but, at night, she felt more pain, vomited and lost her appetite, adding that she was later rushed to the hospital by family members.

A doctor quickly conducted a COVID-19 test, which was negative, then administered saline fluid and conducted an ultrasound examination.

She was immediately sent for an operation when a large growth was found in her ovary and appeared about to rupture, said the hospital’s director, adding that the growth was, in fact a bleeding dermoid cyst, about 12cm in diameter. The operation took about 30 minutes.

Dr. Arak said that a dermoid cyst can only be treated by surgery, but he warned that surgeons who conduct the surgery must be cautious not to rupture the cyst or the other tissue might spill into the stomach and cause the cyst to re-emerge later.

He assured, however, that most of dermoid cysts are benign and the chance that it will become cancerous is about 1%.