Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What is Sacral Dimple?

Sacral dimple is a shallow and small indentation, a sort of small cleft just above the crease of the buttocks or at the bottom of the spine. This is a relatively common occurrence in the new-born babies. Generally, these sacral dimples are harmless and do not indicate any problem or do not require any treatment. However, in rare cases, when the sacral dimples are accompanied by skin discoloration or a tuft of hair nearby the sacral dimple, it may indicate an underlying spinal cord abnormality. The doctor will then recommend an imaging test and recommend treatment methods depending on the cause of the condition.

In general, the sacral dimple is a congenital condition. This means that the infants are born with this condition. However, this condition can also develop in the children and adults, who are not born with a sacral dimple. The exact cause of this has not been understood.

What is Sacral Dimple?

Symptom of Sacral Dimple

The small indentation or depression, near the end of the tailbone and above the crease of the buttocks itself is the symptom of sacral dimple. There are usually no other signs or symptoms associated with sacral dimples. However, in some rare cases, there are some attributes that signal the possibility of some underlying defect. In that case, the doctor will recommend for an imaging test and further treatments would be done accordingly. These rare attributes or symptoms would include –

  • Skin tags
  • Swelling in the area
  • A fatty lump
  • Tenderness around the region
  • Discoloration around the sacral dimple
  • A birthmark around the area
  • Size of the dimple larger or deeper than 5 mm
  • A hair patch by the sacral dimple.

If any of these symptoms of sacral dimple are seen, the doctor will recommend an image testing and as per the reports of the tests, the doctor will recommend the further treatment procedure. Usually, the doctor is able to look out for these symptoms, when they examine the new-born infant for the first time.

Causes of Sacral Dimple

The exact cause of developing a sacral dimple is not known by the scientists. However, since it is generally a congenital condition, it can be said that some unusual factors or minor anomalies during the fetal development leads to the development of a sacral dimple. The general belief behind the cause of developing a sacral dimple is pushing of loose hair into the skin, when the fetus is inside the womb.

Risk Factors for Sacral Dimple

There are certain factors that increase the risk of developing sacral dimple in children and adults. These are –

  • Injury in the region
  • Obesity
  • Doing jobs that require hours of sitting, such as driving
  • An above-average amount of body hair
  • Having curly or coarse body hair.

However, it is not assured as to whether these conditions alone cause the development of the sacral dimple or not.

Complications of Sacral Dimple

Usually, the sacral dimples are absolutely harmless and do not cause any problem in the infants, or even after they grow up. In many cases, they go away on their own. However, in rare cases, they are associated with certain spinal cord abnormality. These are usually the case with deeper and larger sacral dimples that continue inside the body. The abnormalities that are associated with sacral dimple are –

Tethered Cord Syndrome:

The spinal cord hangs loosely or freely inside the spinal canal. However, in case of Tethered Cord Syndrome, some tissues that are attached to the spinal cord, limit the movement of the spinal cord. As a consequence, numbness and weakness can be felt in the legs or the lower parts of the body. Also, the person will experience bowel and bladder incontinence.

Spina Bifida:

Under normal circumstances, the spine is supposed to close around the spinal cord. However, in rare cases, this doesn’t happen and this condition is known as spina bifida. This has no symptoms as such and is difficult to understand from outside.

Cyst on the Sacral Dimple:

If the sacral dimple pits are too deep, the pits may become infected, leading to the formation of cyst or abscess. These types of cysts or abscesses occur when a person is in the teens.

If grown up adults or teens see redness, drainage of pus, tenderness or swelling in the area around the sacral dimple, it is important that they see a doctor immediately.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Sacral Dimple

Usually, sacral dimples do not require any treatment as they do not cause any trouble or harm. When a child is born with a sacral dimple, the doctor examines the infant and recommends imaging tests such as ultra sound and MRI to check if there are any developmental issues associated with the sacral dimple or not. If the tests are found positive, the doctor will treat the condition accordingly. Sometimes, infection keeps occurring in the sacral dimple. In that case, the doctor will cut out the dimple and dress the area daily, until it heals. In some cases, a flap of skin is also used to stitch the dimple or the infection is scraped out and the dimple is filled with special glue.

In order to prevent the chances of developing a sacral dimple in adults and children, the area around the sacrum should be kept dry and a healthy weight should be maintained. Any sort of infection in that region should be treated with antibiotics. At times, the sacral dimple is developed from an abscess in the region. The doctor should remove it with a minor operation, so that the abscess drains out the pus.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 29, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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