Diagnosis of ruptured intracranial dermoid cyst: Value of MR over CT

A. S. Smith, J. E. Benson, S. I. Blaser, A. Mizushima, R. W. Tarr, E. M. Bellon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The CT and MR findings of seven patients with pathologically proved ruptured dermoid cysts were reviewed to analyze the MR characteristics and to see if MR evaluation had significant advantages over CT. In six cases, both CT and MR identified fatty material in the CSF spaces. Hemorrhage complicated preoperative diagnosis in one case. Patterns of extraaxial fat distribution were as follows: intraventricular fat/CSF levels (three patients), generalized subarachnoid spread (six patients), and localized subarachnoid spread with sulcal widening (one patient). There was no correlation between fat distribution and clinical symptoms. MR showed the vascular involvement better than CT did in five of seven cases, and showed extension of the cysts into the skull base in two cases. Signal intensity of the solid mass was low on T1-weighted MR images and inhomogeneously high on T2-weighted images, which correlated pathologically with the presence of crystal cholesterol, hair, sebaceous glands, and epithelial cells in all cases. On MR, brain parenchyma showed little edema or other reaction to the masses, which were typically large. The value of MR over CT in the examination of ruptured dermoid cysts is the conspicuity of the extent of subarachnoid spread, involvement of the extraaxial structures, and evidence of vascular compromise, which can obviate angiography. MR had no advantage over CT in making the initial diagnosis of ruptured dermoid, but it would be the preferred preoperative study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-812
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Diagnosis of ruptured intracranial dermoid cyst: Value of MR over CT'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this