Sorry guys. This is gross. I am studying for an exam tomorrow and have to keep myself entertained while studying or else I’ll go crazy!
For those you of not in medicine, did you know that there are some types of tumors that can contain fat, teeth, bone and hair, amongst other tissues? Yup, they’re called teratomas. Why on Earth am I writing about this? Because I read about it earlier in one of the case books I was reviewing, and now I’m bored and don’t feel like studying so I am procrastinating by writing this disgusting blog post on teratomas. Duh. Isn’t that what everyone does??
So, the word teratoma comes from classical Greek and means roughly “monstrous tumor”.
Here is a description of their pathophysiology taken from emedicine, because I am too lazy to summarize it myself:
Teratomas are made up of a variety of parenchymal cell types representing more than 1 germ layer and often all 3. Arising from totipotential cells, these tumors typically are midline or paraxial. The most common location is sacrococcygeal (57%). Because they arise from totipotential cells, they are encountered commonly in the gonads (29%). By far, the most common gonadal location is the ovary, although they also occur somewhat less frequently in the testes. Cystic teratomas occasionally occur in sequestered midline embryonic cell rests and can be mediastinal (7%), retroperitoneal (4%), cervical (3%), and intracranial (3%). Cells differentiate along various germ lines, essentially recapitulating any tissue of the body. Examples include hair, teeth, fat, skin, muscle, and endocrine tissue.
As said above, a common place for them to occur is in the ovaries (gonads) in women. If they become large, they can become twisted, swollen, or bleed, and thus it can be a source of abdominal pain in young women, which is what my case was about:
Now, before you go hating teratomas, they are actually in most cases a benign tumor, and if your’e going to have a tumor in your ovary, it’s a MUCH better one to have than many others.
Ok, that’s all. Below are some more pictures in case you weren’t already completely grossed out. Sorry I am posting this around dinnertime, but I warned you.