Sacral Agenesis means a congenital deformity of the sacral
area (the lower part of the back just above the coccyx or
tailbone). It is a very uncommon disorder.
It is sometimes called ‘hypoplasia of the sacrum’,
but has not been entirely proven that the cause is a maternal
lack of folic acid, or other nutritional deficiencies.
The area of the spine which
is affected usually develops half way through the first trimester
of pregnancy, so experts think that this deformity develops
in the 4th-6th week of foetal growth.
There are different types
of sacral agenesis where the irregularity can be a partially
formed sacrum on one side, a two-sided deformity or even a
total non-existence of the sacrum.
During the recent years a
foetal scan during pregnancy is used to diagnose these deformities.
Parents may then be offered a range of options in order to
deal with the pregnancy.
Before the use of scans become
common, sacral agenesis was noticed at birth after the child
had its first physical examination. Once a diagnosis has been
suggested, an X-ray is then performed to confirm the diagnosis
and a treatment plan can be drawn up.
Sometimes the bowel and/or
bladder function are interfered with now and again, with total
incontinence. Ways to control this have to be planned as soon
Many sufferers have minor irregularities in their hips, knees,
legs and ankles, sometimes, though not very often, there is
a need for amputation to attain a better quality of life.
Sometimes the lower body can
be short of motor functions and mobility lessened. Sacral
agenesis can cause on the whole, instability in the spine/pelvis
and this is linked with scoliosis and hip dislocation, which
is why as soon as it is discovered it should be addressed
Treatment of Sacral
Even though the actual deformity
cannot be treated, the consequences of suffering this disorder
can be treated. As mentioned before, an appropriate continence
control system can be designed for each individual to assist
with acquiring an improved quality of life. Some sufferers
of sacral agenesis have a tethered spinal cord that can now
be treated surgically; it may contribute to having greater
continence control. Ask a specialist for a referral to discuss
this choice with you.
Some sufferers may need counselling
or therapy, especially during the teenage years. Support groups
can let people express themselves without feeling like they
are being judged by others, plus they gain a sense of understanding
and belonging from other sufferers.
Children should be told about
their condition as soon as possible, though you should be
careful not to make an issue of it. This will help them come
to terms steadily with the deformity, particularly if they
are involved with making decisions about their own health.
Everyone manages their medical
problems in their own way, luckily these days there is a variety
of therapeutic sessions and counsellors that can help sufferers
with any question they may have.
Sacral agenesis is a deformity
which develops before birth. Fortunately it has a low occurrence
rate and there is no reported link to genetic predisposition.
Medical research is being developed everyday, so hopefully
there will be a better understanding of its causes in the
future, as a result hopefully its prevention.