Background: Cervical teratomas are extremely rare tumors with high perinatal mortality and morbidity rates.
Objective: To compare our experience and outcome in newborns with cervical teratoma with similar reports from the literature, in order to propose a structured approach.
Methods: A retrospective review of seven patients treated between 1986 and 2000 was performed. The results of these seven patients were compared with and added to a series of 44 well-documented patients retrieved from the literature.
Results: In four of the seven patients, the diagnosis was not suspected antenatally. Three of the patients survived, one died. In the other three, the diagnosis was made antenatally. Two were born using the ex-utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) procedure, one by planned cesarean section. Only one of these three survived. Mortality in the total series of 51 patients was 33% overall, and 46% in the group in which the diagnosis had been made antenatally. Peri- and post-operative complications were reported in 27%. Although larger tumors caused polyhydramnios more frequently than smaller tumors, and were associated with more severe respiratory distress, the relationship between tumor volume at birth and final outcome could not be established. This makes difficult the identification of fetuses with a disastrous prognosis.
Conclusion: Although mostly benign, cervical teratomas are still associated with high mortality rates. Timely antenatal diagnosis is indispensable in reducing morbidity and mortality caused by upper airway obstruction. A structured approach to the management of cervical teratoma is proposed.
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