The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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What Families and Physicians Should Know About Teratomas — Surgery: Cervical Teratoma

Alan W. Flake, MD: The surgical treatment of a cervical teratoma is very different from an SCT because it's in the neck, obviously, and it compresses structures that are in the neck that are very important.

N. Scott Adzick, MD: The usual morbidity relates to the airway -- how much compression and damage to the airway that was caused before birth. And we do have several children who've required tracheostomies for as long as a year or two until the airway problem either gets better on its own or it can be fixed.

Lori J. Howell, RN: In fetal, life that big ugly mass has been compressing that airway the entire time so our cartilage in our airway is very floppy and it takes a good couple years for it to become very stiff.

Alan W. Flake, MD: Most of the time the airway can re-form and end up being adequate without reconstructive surgery.

N. Scott Adzick, MD: In many cases with a large cervical teratoma, the lesion appears to arise from near to the thyroid so it would not be unusual to need to resect the thyroid, in which case the child would need lifelong thyroid replacement therapy, a medication a day sort of thing.

Alan W. Flake, MD: -- which actually is very effective and compatible with a fairly normal life.

Lori J. Howell, RN: Once the tumor comes off in a plane, it's not like there are a bunch of incisions that we're dealing with. It's really one incision.

Loraine Kelly, parent of Emily: She just has some scarring but you can hardly tell it starts here and it goes down to here. But it's just that, you don't even really notice that.

Alan W. Flake, MD: And we can usually remove the entire teratoma surgically and have very good outcomes with essentially minimal chance of recurrence or other problems.