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Epidermoid cyst in Infant/Neonate
See also in: Anogenital,Hair and Scalp
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Epidermoid cyst in Infant/Neonate

See also in: Anogenital,Hair and Scalp
Contributors: Susan Burgin MD, Belinda Tan MD, PhD, Craig N. Burkhart MD, Dean Morrell MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Epidermoid cysts (epidermal cyst, epidermal inclusion cysts, keratin cysts) are frequently incorrectly called sebaceous cysts. One of the most common benign skin tumors in adults, epidermoid cysts are rare in childhood and infancy. These semi-solid cysts are lined by a keratinizing epithelium and filled mostly with macerated keratin, which has a cheese-like consistency and pungent odor. They frequently appear to arise spontaneously. Alternatively, they may result from disruption of follicular structures or by implantation of the epidermis via a penetrating injury. Epidermoid cysts are a feature of several hereditary syndromes, such as Gardner syndrome; cysts are usually multiple and in unusual locations in Gardner syndrome.


L72.0 – Epidermal cyst

419893006 – Epidermoid cyst

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Epidermoid cysts are rare before puberty, and alternative diagnoses should be strongly considered in infancy and childhood.

Superficial lymph nodes are palpated within the subcutaneous fat and are found within the course of lymphatics.
  • Dermoid cysts result from anomalies in embryonic closure zones. Surgical removal or biopsy of a cyst over the midline should not be attempted without proper imaging to rule out intraspinal or intracranial connection.
  • Thyroglossal duct cysts present as midline cystic nodules on the neck in children.
  • Branchial cleft cysts present in the second or third decade as a nodule in the preauricular area, mandibular region, or along the anterior border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle.
  • Bronchogenic cysts are most frequently found in the suprasternal notch, and they represent sequestered respiratory epithelium during embryological development.
  • Lipomas are soft, mobile subcutaneous nodules with normal overlying epidermis.

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Last Reviewed:05/08/2017
Last Updated:06/12/2017
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Epidermoid cyst in Infant/Neonate
See also in: Anogenital,Hair and Scalp
A medical illustration showing key findings of Epidermoid cyst : Cyst, Face, Neck, Scalp, Smooth nodule, Trunk
Clinical image of Epidermoid cyst - imageId=3463753. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'A close-up of a yellowish nodule with a central keratin-filled punctum.'
A close-up of a yellowish nodule with a central keratin-filled punctum.
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