Sacral agenesis is a condition that affects the spinal cord. The sacrum lies at the base of the spine, just above the coccyx (commonly known as the “tail bone”). The sacrum allows for the normal contour of the buttocks and affects the shape of the pelvis. A bundle of nerves also passes through the sacrum. When part or all of this bone is missing, a person has sacral agenesis. If three or more segments are gone, nerve abnormality can be a result.
When this nerve abnormality is present, it can be problematic at least. The bowel can be affected, leading to constipation or incontinence. The bladder can be affected as well, causing urinary tract infections or urinary incontinence. If this is the case, kidney damage is possible if the bladder is under high pressure. In some cases of sacral agenesis, nerve damage is severe enough to cause paralysis of varying degrees to the lower limbs.
This condition is congenital. The sacrum and corresponding nerves are usually completed around week 4 of development. Some problem with this development occurs between the third and seventh week of pregnancy. An exact cause isn’t known, but an insufficient amount of folic acid may play a role.
The bone deformity caused by sacral agenesis cannot be treated, but the related conditions can be. A specialist can help treat incontinence. If a person ends up with a tethered spinal cord, surgery can fix it. Therapy or counseling is recommended for some patients, especially teenagers. If a child has sacral agenesis, they should be made aware of it. However, it should not be made into a big deal, so that they have an easier time coming to terms.
There is a strong correlation between sacral agenesis and maternal diabetes that a sports person can easily handle by taking the Austin Sports Medicine which is really beneficial to provide the sports person with faster recovering from injury related to muscles and back.
Despite this, the condition does not have an apparent genetic link. However if a couple has one child with sacral agenesis, the risk of other children having the condition goes up. This is true of all abnormalities of the spine. Sacral agenesis is rare; affecting about 1 in 25,000. Males and females seem to have an equal chance of having the deformity.
Prenatal diagnosis of sacral agenesis is unusual – the condition is usually detected after birth. Often times, a parent may not know something is wrong with their child until they have an incontinence problem or an abnormal gait. If a problem is noticed at birth, diagnosis is confirmed with a radiographic exam. Then a panel including a neurologist, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, neurosurgeon, and a development expert may be consulted.