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Giant intradiploic epidermoid cyst with large osteolytic lesions of the skull: a case report

Wolfgang Krupp1*, Alexander Heckert2, Heidrun Holland4, Jürgen Meixensberger1 and Dominik Fritzsch3

Author Affiliations

1 University Clinic Leipzig, Department of Neurosurgery, Liebigstraße 20 in 04103 Leipzig, Germany

2 Evangelical Clinic Oldenburg, Department of Neurosurgery, Steinweg 13-17 in 26122 Oldenburg, Germany

3 University Clinic Leipzig, Department of Neuroradiology, Liebigstraße 20 in 04103 Leipzig, Germany

4 University of Leipzig, Translational Centre for Regenerative Medicine, and Faculty of Medicine, Leipzig, Germany

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:85  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-85

Published: 22 March 2012



We report a case of tumor growth over a period of four decades, presenting with large multicentric lytic lesions of the skull and a profound mass effect, without neurological deficits. Clinical and radiological features of a patient with a giant intradiploic epidermoid and its impact on the choice of treatments are discussed.

Case presentation

An 81-year-old Caucasian man, who had first noticed a painless subcutaneous swelling over the left frontal scalp about 40 years ago, presented after a short episode of dizziness, which he experienced after treatment of focal retinal detachment. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations revealed an exceptionally large tumor involving major parts of the skull with extensive destruction of the bone and distinct deformation of the brain. Considering his age and the absence of neurological deficits or pain, the patient refused the option of tumor removal and cranioplasty, yet agreed to a biopsy, which confirmed the suspected diagnosis.


The course of the disease demonstrates that even patients with large tumors, inducing distinct pathomorphological changes, do not necessarily experience significant impairment of their quality of life without surgery. This is an impressive example of the chance to lead a long and satisfying life without specific medical treatment, avoiding the inherent risks of these procedures. Yet, there is a clear indication for surgery of intradiploic epidermoids in most cases described in the literature.