Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Massive mature cystic teratoma of the head and neck, masquerading as a glial choristoma, causing respiratory compromise of a neonate
  1. Tessa Kirsty Suttle1 and
  2. Timothy Els2
  1. 1Otorhinolaryngology, Livingstone Tertiary Hospital Complex, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  2. 2Head of Clinical Unit, Otorhinolaryngology, Livingstone Tertiary Hospital Complex, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Dr Timothy Els; Drtimels{at}


Glial choristoma of the head and neck is a rare, benign congenital malformation consisting of a mass of heterotopic glial cells. In cases involving the upper aerodigestive tract, this can present with upper airway obstruction. In the acute setting, this can lead to diagnostic challenges due to the broad differential, as well as the additional difficulties in obtaining appropriate imaging and tissue samples due to the potential risk of airway compromise. We present a case of a neonate born with a large heterogenous mass involving the upper aerodigestive tract and multiple deep neck spaces which resulted in upper airway compromise requiring emergency surgical intervention in the form of a paediatric tracheostomy. We will discuss the histological findings which initially suggested a glial choristoma, work-up and treatment of this patient with the aim of supplementing the limited existing clinical knowledge of this congenital anomaly and understanding the implications of a paediatric tracheostomy in our setting.

  • Ear, nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • Congenital disorders
  • Neonatal and paediatric intensive care

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors TS contributed to conception and design of report, data acquisition, drafting and writing article, and editing the manuscript. TE contributed to consultant level management of case, analysis of data and critical revision.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.