Overview

A sacral dimple is an indentation, present at birth, in the skin on the lower back. It's usually located just above the crease between the buttocks. Most sacral dimples are harmless and don't require any treatment.

Sacral dimples that are accompanied by a nearby tuft of hair, skin tag or certain types of skin discoloration are sometimes associated with a serious underlying abnormality of the spine or spinal cord. In these instances, your child's doctor may recommend an imaging test. If an abnormality is discovered, treatment depends on the underlying cause.

Symptoms

A sacral dimple consists of an indentation, or "pit," in the skin on the lower back, just above the crease between the buttocks.

Causes

A sacral dimple is a congenital condition, meaning it's present at birth. There are no known causes.

Complications

Rarely, sacral dimples are associated with a serious underlying abnormality of the spine or spinal cord. Examples include:

  • Spina bifida. A very mild form of this condition, called spina bifida occulta, occurs when the spine doesn't close properly around the spinal cord but the cord remains within the spinal canal. In most cases, spina bifida occulta causes no symptoms.
  • Tethered cord syndrome. The spinal cord normally hangs freely within the spinal canal. Tethered cord syndrome is a disorder that occurs when tissue attached to the spinal cord limits its movements. Signs and symptoms may include weakness or numbness in the legs and bladder or bowel incontinence.

The risks of these spinal problems increase if the sacral dimple is accompanied by a nearby tuft of hair, skin tag or certain types of skin discoloration.

Oct. 15, 2015
References
  1. McKee-Garrett TM. Assessment of the newborn infant. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 8, 2015.
  2. Zywicke HA, et al. Sacral dimples. Pediatrics in Review. 2011;32:109.
  3. Allan PL, et al. The infant spine. In: Clinical Ultrasound. 3rd ed. 2011. Elsevier Limited. Philadelphia, Pa. https://www.clinicalkey.com/home. Accessed July 8, 2015.
  4. Kucera JN, et al. The simple sacral dimple: Diagnostic yield of ultrasound in neonates. Pediatric Radiology. 2015;45:211.