Sacrococcygeal Teratoma

Also known as: SCT, sacrococcygeal tumors.

What is sacrococcygeal teratoma?

A sacrococcygeal teratoma is a tumor containing a number of different tissues (fat, bone, nerves etc.) that is present at birth in the tailbone (coccyx) of the newborn baby. It is the most common tumor found in newborn babies (though quite rare); usually girls.

These tumors are usually covered by skin or a membrane, grow out either from the back or toward the stomach and can be quite large. They are usually categorized by position and severity:

  • Type 1- are tumors attached to the coccyx and grow outward and do not usually spread.
  • Type 11- have parts outside and inside the body. These occasionally spread.
  • Type 111- most of the tumor is inside the baby’s abdomen. Spread occurs in about 20% of children.
  • Type 1V - all of the tumor is inside the body. Occasionally spread occurs.

Most SCT are not cancerous (benign) but may cause problems before birth.

What causes sacrococcygeal teratoma?

The cause is unknown.

What are the symptoms of sacrococcygeal teratoma?

In some cases sacrococcygeal teratoma causes no symptoms. Other times it can cause severe problems in the womb if large by taking blood away from the baby’s circulation and causing the heart to work harder. After birth, the tumor can cause problems for the baby with urinating or causing bowel problems.

What are sacrococcygeal teratoma care options?

Treatment depends on the size, type and location of the tumor. Surgery to remove the tumor before (only done if the baby’s life is at risk), or after birth is the treatment of choice. 

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: April 12, 2023 09:43 AM

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