Coccyx Interatoma – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Coccyx interatoma

Coccygeal interatoma is a prenatal tumor of the coccyx that is usually benign and associated with abnormal development of the primitive streak. The tumor can be detected prenatally and treated if necessary. The prenatal treatment mainly stabilizes the circulation of the embryo.

What is a coccyx interatoma?

Germ cell tumors are tumors that arise from the germ cells. In women, the tumors are usually benign . The male sex is more often affected by malignant forms. Coccyx interatoma is the most common manifestation of germ cell tumors in infancy. The teratoma is located in the coccyx tumor in the area of ​​the coccyx and corresponds to a malformation tumor of the spine.

In part, the tumor invades the fetal pelvis from the spine. Teratoma literally means “monster tumor”. Coccyx interatomas are often large at birth, appropriate to the term, and visible to the naked eye. Although these are mostly benign tumors, the risk of degeneration should not be underestimated. Large coccyx interatomas are already evident in fine ultrasound before birth. Depending on the degree of blood flow, a previously benign coccyx tumor can have serious or even fatal consequences.


The coccyx interatoma is a malformation tumor. As the name implies, the proliferation is due to a malformation during embryonic development. The malformation affects the developmental phase of the primitive streak. The primitive streak actually regresses during gastrulation. Patients with coccyx interatoma suffer from incomplete regression of the primitive streak.

In the coccyx interatoma, the remnants of the strip become a tumor at the rear end of the embryonic spine. The resulting tumor often causes the individual germ layers to develop incorrectly. This connection can disturb all kinds of tissues, organs and limbs of the embryo during development . Coccyx interatomes with a particularly high blood supply can, for example, result in heart failure and cause the unborn child to die.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

The coccyx interatoma can manifest as a mature tumor the size of a child’s head. In milder cases, the teratoma is not necessarily noticeable immediately after birth, but only manifests itself in a slight swelling in the coccyx area. The teratoma can have little or a lot of blood flow. If the coccyx interatomas are heavily supplied with blood, the newborn often suffers from functional impairments of the heart.

Pelvic teratomas often compress the bladder or bowel and produce associated associated symptoms. For example, particularly large, compressing teratomas can also cause pain. If the spinal canal is infiltrated, there may be restricted movement , which is usually due to the severe pain.

In some cases, the pregnant woman also suffers from symptoms during pregnancy. For example, mirror syndrome during pregnancy can be due to an interatoma in the coccyx in the unborn child. Abdominal pain , shortness of breath and massive edema formation were observed in part as a reflection of the fetal disease in the pregnant woman.

Diagnosis & disease progression

The diagnosis of a large coccyx teratoma is usually made prenatally using fine ultrasound . If the teratoma is not prominent in size, the doctor makes the diagnosis postnatally. Usually he develops a first suspicion of the widespread tumor through palpation. In addition to blood tests , he uses radiological methods for diagnostics. Above all, alpha-fetoprotein is determined in the child’s blood.

Imaging such as sonography is used to accurately depict the coccyx area. In addition to the location, the size of the growth is determined via the imaging. Magnetic resonance imaging is the method of choice for precise diagnostics. The MRI also helps doctors to plan the treatment steps. The prognosis for patients with coccygeal interatomas depends primarily on the malignancy and the degree of its perfusion. Prenatal diagnosis has a positive effect on the prognosis.


In most cases, coccyx interatoma does not cause any particular complications or discomfort. The tumor is usually benign, so that metastases do not form. The coccyx interatoma does not always have to lead to problems. In many people, the symptom is only discovered by accident, although it can show up as swelling in the tailbone.

The swelling is often not associated with pain. Due to the increased blood flow, however, heart problems can occur, which can lead to a serious course, especially in newborns. Movement restrictions can also occur in this area and possibly have a negative impact on the development of the child. Furthermore, the patients often suffer from abdominal pain or shortness of breath, so that the coccyx interatoma must be removed in any case.

As a rule, there are no special complications during the removal and treatment of this tumor. After that, however, chemotherapy is necessary, which is associated with side effects. Furthermore, the affected person is dependent on regular examinations in order to avoid further tumors. Successful treatment of the coccygeal teratoma does not result in a reduced life expectancy for the patient.

When should you go to the doctor?

In the case of a coccyx interatoma, a visit to a doctor is necessary in any case. Since it cannot heal on its own and the symptoms in most cases worsen if left untreated, the disease must always be treated by a doctor. Further complications can only be prevented by early examination and subsequent treatment.

A doctor should be consulted for the coccyx interatoma if the patient is severely restricted in movement. In most cases, those affected can no longer cope with their everyday life on their own and are dependent on the help and support of their friends and family. Severe pain in the legs or severe shortness of breath can also indicate a coccyx interatoma. If these symptoms occur permanently and above all without a particular reason, a doctor should be consulted.

In most cases, severe and permanent tiredness or exhaustion also indicates a coccyx interatoma and should also be examined by a doctor. As a rule, the coccyx interatoma can be recognized by a pediatrician or by a general practitioner . The further treatment then depends on the exact symptoms and their severity.

Treatment & Therapy

If the coccygeal interatoma is diagnosed before birth, prenatal fetal surgery can be used. From the 20th to the 32nd week of pregnancy, fetal surgical interventions can, for example, reduce the blood flow to the teratoma and thus improve the circulatory situation of the unborn child. Excision of the tumor should be attempted as soon as possible after birth.

In the case of a prenatal diagnosis, therapy planning is carried out by an interdisciplinary team of paediatricians, gynecologists, pediatric surgeons and anesthetists who are connected to perinatal centers. The date of birth is usually determined in an interdisciplinary manner so that all necessary preparations for the best possible treatment can be made. For excision, the child’s circulatory situation should be stable.

For this reason, postnatal diagnosis worsens the prognosis, since in this case no surgical measures can be taken to stabilize the fetal circulation. In most cases, the excision involves removing the coccyx to eliminate the tumor as completely as possible. After the excision, the doctors decide whether chemotherapy is necessary in the individual case.

After the removal and follow-up treatment of the teratoma, the children must attend regular check-ups. Doctors specializing in oncology and hematology look after the patients permanently in the outpatient clinic of a children’s hospital. In the event of a recurrence, the doctors can identify the tumor that has reappeared at an early stage and intervene in good time.


The coccygeal interatoma is a malformation during embryonic development. So far, however, it remains unclear which factors are responsible for this undesirable development. Therefore, the teratoma has not yet been successfully prevented. Nevertheless, the fine ultrasound can be regarded as a kind of preventive measure, since teratomas in the child can be detected by imaging and pretreated before birth.


Follow-up care for a coccyx teratoma depends on the shape of the teratoma and the type of treatment chosen. The sooner the teratoma and part of the coccyx have been surgically removed, the faster the necessary medical follow-up can be determined. Ideally, the coccygeal interatoma will show up before or right at birth.

After the surgical intervention and an analysis of the tissue, it must be determined whether further therapy is necessary. This can consist, for example, of chemotherapy, which in turn entails various follow-up examinations and treatments.

Once it has been determined that nothing is left of the teratoma and there is no longer any risk of malignant tumor cells, the aftercare includes wound care and an examination of all parts of the body adjacent to the coccyx. For example, it is checked whether the coccyx interatoma has affected the bladder or the intestine. If necessary, surgery or therapy is carried out here.

On the other hand, if the coccyx interatoma appears in the first months or years of life, malignancy is much more likely. The follow-up care that takes place after the treatment of such a coccyx interatoma is similar to that after cancer therapy. Accordingly, medical aftercare is associated with a large number of examinations, including blood and imaging processes.

You can do that yourself

In the best case, a coccyx interatoma can be diagnosed and removed before the child is born. The mother should be alert to warning signs and inform the gynecologist of any symptoms.

If the tumor is too large, it is removed immediately after the birth of the child. The mother’s task is to watch the child carefully. If the surgical scar opens or the child shows other signs of pain or discomfort, call emergency medical services or ambulance . As a rule, however, a coccyx interatoma is relatively symptom-free. If it is detected and removed early, the child will have no further problems.

However, a tumor in the child can represent a serious psychological burden for the parents and especially the mother. Concerned parents should consult a therapist if they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by the situation. The responsible gynecologist or surgeon can also put you in touch with a therapist or psychologist . If necessary, the child must take painkillers or anti-inflammatories. Parents should seek help from a specialist doctor or other parents.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.