Children's Hospital Colorado
Colorado Fetal Care Center

Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT)

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What is sacrococcygeal teratoma?

A sacrococcygeal teratoma (SCT) is a type of tumor arising from the tailbone of a developing fetus. This type of teratoma can either grow externally from the tailbone or internally into the pelvis.

While many sacrococcygeal teratomas are small and can be managed after birth, some may need fetal treatment. As a parent, learning your baby may have a sacrococcygeal teratoma can be frightening. But the Colorado Fetal Care Center is at the forefront of treatment and care for this condition.

One of the most common types of congenital germ cell tumors, a sacrococcygeal teratoma (SCT) is a mass located on the base of the tailbone, or coccyx, of a baby. It occurs in an average of one in every 35,000 births and is seen in three times more females than males.

It can vary in size, shape and consistency. While most are small and benign, some fetuses can develop larger growths or may have islands of malignant cells. There are a wide variety of types and sizes of tumors associated with this condition, however they are predominantly benign (non-cancerous) and can be successfully removed after birth in many cases.

Causes of sacrococcygeal teratomas

Causes of sacrococcygeal teratomas are unknown, though there are many theories.

What are complications of sacrococcygeal teratoma?

Depending on the size of the sacrococcygeal teratoma, complications can vary. If the mass is small, often times there are no complications and the pregnancy will continue without problems. In these cases, the tumor can be successfully removed after birth with no prolonged impact to the baby or mother.

If, however, the tumor grows rapidly during the pregnancy, it can create a variety of complications that impact both the mother and baby. Because these tumors can become very large, severe cases put the fetus and mother at risk of:

  • Heart failure
  • Obstruction of the urinary system
  • Renal damage
  • Tumor rupture
  • Polyhydramnios
  • Massive fluid accumulation (hydrops)

Sacrococcygeal teratomas can also be tied to other congenital abnormalities such as myelomeningocele, so it's important to conduct a thorough examination to rule out additional complications.

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