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Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT)

Home Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT)


Sacrococcygeal Teratoma is a tumor found in newborns that develops at the tailbone and is a rare tumor. These are germ cell tumors.  A study suggests one in every 30,000 to 70,000 infants develops this type of teratoma. The doctor can discover and diagnose them before birth during a prenatal examination. However, the cause of SCT is unknown. Treatment, most of the time, is the surgical removal of the tumor.

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What is Sacrococcygeal Teratoma

Sacrococcygeal Teratoma is a rare form of cancer usually found in infants. Sacrococcygeal Teratoma forms in the region of the tailbone (also known as coccyx). It is the most common solid tumor usually found in newborn babies and rarely in adults. In most cases, SCT tumors are not cancerous (benign).

Forms of sacrococcygeal Teratoma:

  • Type I: In this case, the tumor is usually external to the pelvis or tailbone. This type of teratoma is generally not malignant.
  • Type II: In this case, the tumor is usually external but may extend internally into presacral space.
  • Type III: This kind of tumor is externally visible, located at the pelvic region extending to the abdomen.
  • Type IV: In this case, the tumor may not be externally visible but located behind the rectum.

What are the Causes of Sacrococcygeal Teratoma?

The exact cause of Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT) is still unknown. However, teratomas can form due to complications during the growth process of the infant. The germ cells play an essential role in the development process in differentiating multiple cells. Any anomaly during this process may lead to Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT). Teratomas are the tumors of tissues made from germ cells. These germ cells may move to various parts of the body and form tumors. Scientists and researchers are unsure of the exact cause that may lead to Sacrococcygeal Teratoma. Female infants are more prone to developing this kind of teratoma. The doctors can detect Sacrococcygeal Teratoma before birth with regular prenatal checkups and tests. This type of teratoma is rarest in adults. If Sacrococcygeal Teratoma goes undetected throughout childhood, it can present itself during later stages. The tumor can form outside the pelvic region or within the body.

What are the Symptoms of Sacrococcygeal Teratoma?

During the initial stages, Sacrococcygeal Teratoma may or may not display any symptoms.

However, signs and symptoms of SCT depend upon multiple factors, such as the tumor size, the exact tumor location, etc. The abnormal size of the uterus may indicate a possibility of Sacrococcygeal Teratoma. The SCT grows very fast in the fetus and leads to hydrops (accumulation of the fluid in fetal compartments). If untreated, it is risky for the mother and may lead to symptoms, such as shortness of breath, edema, hypertension, etc.

In adults, small-sized tumors can be asymptomatic. However, large tumors may cause symptoms such as:

  • ● Pain in the abdomen region
  • ● Constipation
  • ● Pain while urinating
  • ● Weakness in legs
  • ● Swelling and pain around the pubic region
  • ● Discomfort during bowel movement

How is Sacrococcygeal Teratoma Diagnosed?

The location and size of the tumor decide the diagnostic route for Sacrococcygeal Teratoma. The ultrasound scan is useful in detecting this kind of teratoma before birth. Small as well as large tumors or abnormal growth is visible in an ultrasound scan. Your healthcare expert will check if any swelling or abnormality is present in the region of the tailbone of your infant. You may need to undergo multiple blood tests, CT- scans, and X-rays to diagnose teratoma. If your infant is diagnosed with this kind of teratoma, your healthcare expert may closely monitor the tumors and decide the required course of treatment.

How is Sacrococcygeal Teratoma Treated?

Surgery is one of the most common treatment options. The surgeon will surgically remove the tumor or the coccyx when diagnosed with Sacrococcygeal Teratoma. The course of treatment varies from case to case. In severe cases, the surgeon may perform fetal surgery. It may be an open fetal surgery or laser ablation. Malignant tumors may require chemotherapy or radiation.

What is the Results of Sacrococcygeal Teratoma Treatment?

Sacrococcygeal Teratoma is a life-threatening condition. The course of treatment depends upon the size and location of the tumor. However, early diagnosis may prevent further damage.

What are the Risks Associated with Sacrococcygeal Teratoma treatments?

Prenatal tumors may turn out to be life-threatening to mother and infant. It may lead to some health problems such as:

  • ● Heart failure
  • ● Circulatory problems
  • ● Accumulation of fluids in the body
  • ● Maternal mirror syndrome

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Is Sacrococcygeal Teratoma Found in Adults?

Sacrococcygeal Teratoma is generally present in infants. Cases of SCT are rare among adults. If SCT goes undetected at the time of birth, it may appear in later stages.

Is SCT Curable?

When tumors are benign, the doctor may remove them surgically. While in severe cases, multiple treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are involved.

3. Which Expert Treats SCT?

An oncologist and pediatrician are the experts who treat Sacrococcygeal Teratoma.

What is the Survival Rate for Sacrococcygeal Teratoma?

Early prenatal diagnosis and surgery may have a better chance. The survival rate for Sacrococcygeal Teratoma lies at 54% to 77%.

Can Teratoma Grow Back After Surgery?

Even after surgery, Sacrococcygeal Teratoma can grow back. It may also turn into a malignant tumor. To treat malignant tumors, the doctor may recommend radiation or chemotherapy.


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