Clinical, radiological and histopathological characteristics of surgically removed orbital hematic cysts: A case series

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Background: Hematic cyst is a rare orbital condition that has a wide range of clinical presentation and is characterized pathologically by lack of endothelial lining. Purpose: To correlate clinical and radiological features of hematic cysts, to tissue diagnosis, and investigate the possible etiology behind this condition, its relation to trauma and other interesting histopathological findings. Methods: Retrospective case series at King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital (KKESH) and King Abdulaziz University Hospital (KAUH) of all orbital lesions with tissue findings supporting the clinical and/or radiological diagnosis of hematic cyst. Results: A series of 13 cases was studied, 8 males and 5 females. Age ranged from 2 to 84 years with a median of 54. Most cases presented with proptosis (76.9%) and limitation of eye movements (69.2%). History of trauma was confirmed in only 2/13. The clinical diagnosis of hematic cyst was made prior to surgery in 38.4%. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) confirmed the presence of blood in the orbit in 7/7. Surgical intervention was the mainstay of treatment. Histopathologically, these lesions demonstrated variable constituents including blood break-down products (hemosiderin), macrophages, mononuclear inflammatory cells, hemorrhage, absent endothelial lining, reactive fibrosis and capsule-like formation. Cholesterol clefts with typical granulomas and multinucleated giant cells were present in 2 cases. A clue to an underlying vascular lesion was found histopathologically in 30.8%. None of the patients developed recurrence or long-term complications with an average follow up period of 1 year. Conclusion: Hematic cyst is a challenging clinical diagnosis that can be aided by radiological examination and histopathological confirmation. Trauma does not seem to play a major role while presence of a pre-existing vascular lesion with spontaneous hemorrhage may be an etiologic factor. Associated cholesterol granuloma is an interesting controversial finding. Surgical intervention is curative with possible persisting motility disturbance and/or the eye deviation and worse prognosis in post-traumatic cases.




Alkatan, H. M., Al Otaibi, M., Maktabi, A. M. Y., Aljaedi, H., Elkhamary, S. M., Al-Faky, Y., & Alsuhaibani, A. H. (2018). Clinical, radiological and histopathological characteristics of surgically removed orbital hematic cysts: A case series. Saudi Journal of Ophthalmology, 32(1), 45–51.

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