Written by Aparna Hari
A harmless-looking dimple on your baby’s lower back hides puzzling mysteries. Expectant and new parents remain confused with questions like; What are Sacral Dimples in newborns? Can they be removed? What causes them? Do they mean my baby has a serious health condition?
Firstly, you’ll have to understand which type of sacral dimple your baby has. Depending on the type, a dimple may be harmless or need medical treatment. For example; hairs around the bumpy region are not a sign of a normal dimple. It signals that there’s something wrong with the spinal cord. Sometimes the spinal column, the bone which covers the bundle of nerves, does not close properly. As a result, the lower back region of a baby gets a bit depressed. Doing an ultrasound will help to check if these abnormalities are present.
In This Article
Sacral indicates related to the sacrum – the lower end of the spine. A Sacral dimple is a small dent in a baby’s lower back region. It typically forms above the crease, or the meeting of buttocks. A small portion of skin on their lower back isn’t as plain as the rest. If you touch it, you’ll find a little bump.
Sacral dimples are congenital, meaning, they’re present right from the birth of some newborns. They won’t fade completely as babies age, but will surely become less noticeable.
Scientists are still digging the ground of hidden and mysterious phenomena of the human body. No solid research has been done which would conclude the reason for sacral dimples. Only the title ‘congenital condition’ sticks with it till now. The growing fetus in the mother’s womb goes through certain changes, resulting in the formation of such dimples. However, ‘what are those certain changes?’ – the answer to this is yet to be discovered.
The occurrence of sacral dimples in newborns is relatively rare and quite uncommon. It is estimated that 3% to 8% of newborns have this congenital condition
In rare instances, sacral dimples are an alarming bell of an underlying serious condition. Mostly, just like babies born with or without lots of head hair is of no consequence, sacral dimples are of no importance either. Head hair grows later, don’t they? Similarly, sacral dimples don’t hold back your baby in any way from living a healthy life.
Following are the types of Sacral Dimples
Most sacral dimples belong to this group. The bump is small and is found right above the crease of the buttocks. They don’t signal any complications and are as harmless as a birthmark.
Located a little above the cleft of the buttocks, this category of sacral dimples is also normal. However, a health checkup is suggested if the dimple is too deep, large, or accompanied by more symptoms.
A skin tag, excess skin, or lump may be present on the dimple area. In this case, a health check is mandatory as it may mean a spinal abnormality.
Here, the risks are elevated, with potential neurological and spinal problems. These are the symptoms that one should take note of. A lump on the skin, a tuft of hair on the dimple, and the depth and size of the dimple are all signs of an Atypical Sacral Dimple.
These are the most common and key symptoms of abnormal sacral dimples
Sacral Dimples are mostly safe. But sometimes, they may be symptoms of a serious health problem.
The spinal cord is abnormally attached to nearby tissues. This is known as Tethered Cord syndrome.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves originating from the base of the brain. A spinal column or a protective layering of bone covers it. Tethered Cord syndrome means the band of nerves or spinal cord has become tethered/attached to lower back tissues or the spinal column.
A Sacral dimple can form out of this condition. As the spinal nerves get restricted and suppressed due to their attachment, one may face bowel and bladder problems.
This is an incomplete closure of the spinal column.
If you place a mat on the ground with a hole, you will notice a dent or a depression. Similarly, when the spinal column doesn’t close properly, the surrounding skin can become a bit depressed. Sacral dimple doesn’t always indicate this condition. Only a medical diagnosis can identify the true cause.
[Read : Spina Bifida in Babies]
A layperson can also identify a sacral dimple after the baby’s birth. Depending on the symptoms accompanying the dimple, such as depth, discoloration, and hair, the doctors may do a further evaluation.
Usually, doctors do an ultrasound to find out the reason for sacral dimples in newborns. This technology sends sound waves inside to see the structure of their inner system. For example, if sand is thrown on a small statue, it will take its shape.
Any internal spinal abnormality will be seen, and the doctors may also do an MRI.
Most sacral dimples in newborns don’t require any medical care. Any abnormalities in the inner structure, if present, will be found in the diagnosis. As per the intensity of the case, surgical interventions and other forms of treatment might be needed.
You should visit your doctor even if you’re sure that your baby’s sacral dimple is risk-free. While you’re in the hospital post-childbirth or after that, ask your doctor the following questions
The arrival of your little one will be the source of joy and fulfillment in life. Do not worry about the appearance of bumps near the buttock area. These sacral dimples in newborns do not hold them back in any way from living a healthy life. See them as you see birthmarks.
But do remember that sacral dimples may mean something serious if you observe a tuft of hair and discoloration of the region around the area. Moreover, a dimple too deep and skin tags attached to it are warning signs as well. You have to book an appointment in such instances.
No. All sacral dimples may not need an ultrasound. Some may be benign and resolve on their own. But it is always a good idea to be cautious and take advice from your doctor and follow the testing, diagnosis, and treatment options.
A baby, at such a tender age, shouldn’t be exposed to such harsh treatments. First of all, you should consult your doctor about the risks, and the underlying cause, and shouldn’t make any decisions by yourself.
Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.
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