Neonatal Med.  2014 Feb;21(1):46-51.

Sacral Cutaneous Clues to Underlying Spinal Abnormalities

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Cheil General Hospital & Women's Health Care Center Kwandong University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Cheil General Hospital & Women's Health Care Center Kwandong University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, National Police Hospital, Seoul, Korea.


Sacral cutaneous lesions in newborns are associated with numerous spinal abnormalities. Early detection is important, because spinal abnormalities may cause neurological symptoms. Radiologic screening tests have been performed on newborns with sacral cutaneous lesions. This study aimed to substantiate the associations between sacral cutaneous lesions and spinal abnormalities.
From January 2007 until November 2013, we retrospectively reviewed the charts of 743 newborns with sacral cutaneous lesions that included sacral dimples, which were deeper than 5 mm and situated further than 2.5 cm from the anus, deviated gluteal furrow, hairy patch, hemangioma, dyspigmentaion, and the presence of mass, and skin tag.
743 newborns with sacral cutaneous lesions were examined, including 24 newborns with abnormal ultrasonographic images. Tethered cord which affected 18 (2.4%) of the newborns, was the most commonly found spinal abnormaility. Of these 9 newborns had other spinal abnormalities in addition to tethered cord including lipoma, cyst, spina bifida occulta, lipomyelomeningocele, and dermal sinus tract, and 9 newborns had isolated tethered cord only. Other spinal abnormalities found included isolated lipoma (3 newborns, 0.4%), and subarachnoid cyst (2 newborns, 0.3%), and of the 2 newborns (0.3%) who had dermal sinus tract, 1 also had a lipoma and the other also had a tethered cord. Normal variants included coccygeal pit (43 newborns, 5.8%), and ventriculus terminalis (10 newborns, 1.4%). Of the 646 newborns with isolated sacral cutaneous lesion, 11 (1.7%) had abnormal ultrasonographic images, and of the 97 newborns with combined sacral cutaneous lesions, 13 (13.4%) had abnormal ultrasonograpic images.
Sacral cutaneous lesions in newborns can be associated with spinal abnormalities, and the strongest marker of spinal abnormality is a combined lesion. Therefore, ultrasonography should be performed on newborns who present with sacral cutaneous lesions to detect and investigate any underlying spinal abnormalities.


Cutaneous lesion; Spinal abnormality; Ultrasonography
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