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J Pediatr Surg. 2003 Mar;38(3):446-50; discussion 446-50.

Spectrum of intrapartum management strategies for giant fetal cervical teratoma.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143-0570, USA.



The management of the fetus with a large neck mass that obstructs the airway remains a clinical challenge. The authors review their experience with giant fetal cervical teratoma and discuss options for management.


A retrospective review of all patients referred since 1994 for prenatal management of a fetal neck mass was performed. Variables examined included gestational age at diagnosis and delivery, size and location of the neck mass, presence of fetal hydrops, associated anomalies, management methods, operating time, and outcome.


Seven patients were identified with a prenatal diagnosis of giant cervical teratoma. Four patients had fetal hydrops; of these, 2 died in utero of hydrops, and a third fetus underwent elective termination. The remaining hydropic and previable fetus underwent fetal surgery for resection of the mass. The 3 nonhydropic patients underwent ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) procedures for airway control. Endotracheal intubation was possible in one patient, and one received a tracheostomy. In the third fetus, neither intubation nor tracheostomy were possible, and resection of the neck mass was performed on placental support. There were no deaths in the surgical group.


The management of fetal giant cervical teratoma includes a spectrum of options. For the rare previable fetus with hydrops, fetal resection may be indicated. In patients with airway obstruction, EXIT procedure provides the luxury of time to obtain airway control either by intubation, tracheostomy, or, if necessary, tumor resection on placental support.

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