Umbilical cord cyst

Last revised by Joshua Yap on 8 May 2023

Umbilical cord cysts can refer to any cystic lesion associated with the umbilical cord. They can be single (more common) or multiple.

They may be seen in ~3% of pregnancies in the first trimester 8.

There are associations (especially when there are additional sonographic abnormalities and if there is persistence in the 2nd or 3rd trimester) with certain chromosomal/structural anomalies (reported in up to 20% in one study 8).

Associations include aneuploidic conditions such as:

Umbilical cord cysts can represent either true or false cysts:

They tend to be eccentric in relation to the umbilical cord 7. It can be almost impossible to differentiate a true cyst from a pseudocyst on sonographic grounds. The cyst sizes can be variable ranging from a few millimeters up to 5 cm 11.

Most advocate a detailed sonographic assessment to be performed if an umbilical cord cyst is seen. A transient cyst that resolves on subsequent imaging is considered to carry an excellent prognosis. 

Concerning factors include:

  • multiple cysts 10

  • presence of other sonographic abnormalities

  • persistence during serial sonographic assessment or persistence into the 2nd or 3rd trimester

On ultrasound, consider:

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.