Background: Anti-NMDA-receptor (anti-NMDAR) encephalitis is often associated with ovarian teratoma (OT). The best management of anti-NMDAR encephalitis patients with normal imaging studies (pelvic ultrasound/MRI) but clinically high risk of OT (e.g., female, adult, black) is unclear. We report on the surprising diagnostic quest in a young black woman with anti-NMDAR encephalitis, in whom invasive procedures could finally disclose two OTs that were hidden from the initial non-invasive diagnostics. Case report: The patient presented with a one-week history of psychotic symptoms, developing oro-facial dyskinesia, seizures and coma, eventually requiring mechanical ventilation. NMDA-receptor antibodies were positive in serum and cerebrospinal fluid. Pelvic MRI and transabdominal ultrasound were normal. Exploratory laparoscopy was also unremarkable at first, but due to a suspicious echogenic mass (15 mm) in the right ovary on perioperative transvaginal ultrasound, an ovarian incision was performed which led to the detection of a first OT and its removal via ovarian-preserving cystectomy. Following a severe therapy-refractory clinical course despite aggressive immunotherapy and tumor removal, 6 months later bilateral oophorectomy was performed as ultima ratio, disclosing a second micro-OT (6 mm) in the left ovary. Unfortunately, the patient has not improved clinically yet. Conclusions: In therapy-refractory anti-NMDAR encephalitis with high risk of OT, small and bilateral OTs hidden from primary non-invasive diagnostics should be considered, which may trigger further invasive diagnostic procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalNeurological research and practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12.2022

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)
  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)


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