Congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation (CCAM) is the most common type of fetal lung lesion. A benign (non-cancerous) lung lesion that presents as a cyst or lump in the baby’s chest, CCAM varies in both size and type. CCAM types are classified into two categories:

  • Type I: One or multiple large cysts that contain either air, fluids or semi-solid material
  • Type II: One or multiple solid cysts

At the Center for Maternal/Fetal Health , our team of dedicated physicians and compassionate support staff  are equipped to diagnose and treat CCAM babies and mothers with the latest treatment approaches and technologies.

CCAM diagnosis: What does it mean for baby and mother?

A CCAM diagnosis is often diagnosed during a prenatal ultrasound. Once identified, the ultrasound also helps doctors better determine the size and location of the growth.

Continued ultrasound monitoring helps doctors keep an eye on CCAM and quickly react to any changes in yours or your child’s condition. While most mothers carry babies with CCAM to full term, the mass may grow large enough in some cases to require intervention.

If the fetal CCAM grows large enough to compress blood vessels, causing the heart to work harder to circulate blood, doctors may have to pursue CCAM surgery before the baby is born. However, these types of cases are quite rare.

CCAM treatment: Keeping mother and baby healthy

Prenatal CCAM treatment

If the fetal CCAM shows signs of growth, doctors may proactively seek treatment options depending on the CCAM type. Doctors only pursue prenatal CCAM treatment if they determine your child’s CCAM can grow large enough to lead to heart failure.

For type I CCAM, which requires treatment before the baby is born, the cyst can often be drained with a needle. For type II CCAM, which requires prenatal treatment, doctors may need to perform open fetal CCAM surgery, in which the mother is placed under anesthesia and the baby is partially removed from the uterus to remove the mass.

CCAM treatment after birth

CCAM babies with non-life threatening growths during the pregnancy are usually delivered in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)  for precaution, but babies with CCAM often show no symptoms after birth. At around three months old, babies will undergo a lung CT scan to monitor the size, shape and location of the CCAM.

If doctors become concerned that the condition may have a long-term impact if left untreated, surgery will be scheduled to remove the CCAM when the baby is between three and six months old. After a short hospital (usually five to seven days), doctors will continue to monitor the baby to ensure no long-term effects.

CCAM prognosis: A happy, healthy baby

Babies who undergo CCAM surgery usually see no negative long-term effects. Because the lungs continue to grow as the child ages, even a fetal CCAM or one that required CCAM surgery after birth has little impact while the lungs develop to their normal size.