Sacral Dimple In Adults

Sacral dimple in adults is rare but possible. A sacral dimple is a tiny indentation that develops below the spine, mostly in children.

A sacral dimple is common in toddlers. Customarily, sacral dimples aren't harmful. They don't need any particular treatment. In rare occasions, when skin discoloration accompanies them, it may indicate an abnormality in the spinal cord. Most doctors recommend one to undergo an imaging test.

An ordinary sacral dimple is congenital. Some people are born with it. Nevertheless, it can develop in adults and children who were not born with it. It mostly occurs close to an individual's sacrum. The condition affects about 4% of Americans most of them being children. Doctors often detect them when performing neonatal spinal tests.

It’s important for doctors to diagnose early to get the right treatment and management. Also, patients need to learn how to manage such a rare occurrence. In this article, we provide information on causes, risk factors, diagnosis and management of this condition.

What Causes Sacral Dimple?

Sacral dimple has no specific known cause. Most cases are abnormalities that occur in childhood or adulthood. Congenital dermal sinus and natural pilonidal dimple cause sacral dimples. It's prudent to consult a doctor if these dimples discharge fluid or if you also experience discoloration and swelling. An infection may occur forming a cyst.

What are the Symptoms of Sacral Dimple?

A common symptom of sacral dimple in adults is a tiny depression that occurs close to the tailbone and the butt's crease. In some scenarios, some signs indicate the occurrence of a certain birth defect. Some common symptoms of sacral dimple include:

  • A fat lump
  • Skin tags
  • Inflammation
  • Hair patches
  • Skin discoloration
  • Redness and tenderness
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Numbness
  • A birthmark

Sacral Dimple Risk Factors

There are various circumstances which can make one prone to developing a sacral dimple. They include:

  • Obesity
  • Being between 15-40 years old
  • Genetic inheritance
  • Having curly hair
  • Having excess body hair

How is Sacral Dimple Diagnosed?

Sacral dimples have no specific treatment. Your doctor examines them and may recommend MRI and ultrasound tests to ascertain that they are not related to severe underlying health conditions.

In diagnosing sacral dimples in a patient, your doctor may also perform other tests. They check a person's medical history before conducting a physical examination. If there isn't any serious issue, you may have a pilonidal dimple. Also, they need specific information including numbness in your legs, current symptoms, bladder changes and drainage in the dimple.

Your physician may urge you to undergo imaging tests if your sacral dimple contains a skin tag, hair tufts or various discolorations. Conditions such as a full and unusual appearance require additional testing such as ultrasound and MRI.

At times, recurring infections occur at the sacral dimple. In such instances, your doctor may cut the dimple. Your doctor may recommend dressing it until it heals. In specific scenarios, a skin flap helps in stitching the dimple once removed, and specialized glue used to fill the gap.

It's wise to keep the sacrum area dry to avoid infections. You also need to maintain an appropriate weight. In case of an infection, use antibiotics. The dimple may be as a result of an abscess in a person's sacrum area. A doctor needs to remove the depression through a surgical operation to drain the pus.

What are the Complications of Sacral Dimple?

Minor sacral dimples don't cause serious complications. Deep pits that extend to other parts of the body may have a direct link to your spinal cord or colon. It may lead to a severe rash hence making it necessary to close the dimple. Often, deep pits easily get infected forming abscesses and cysts. It usually begins at adolescence.

If the dimple indicates a serious health condition, it's vital to perform an ultrasound to scan the spinal cord. Completing tests within three months is wise. The sacral dimple may trigger specific abnormalities including:

1. Tethered cord syndrome:

A person's spinal cord usually hangs freely within the spinal canal. However, patients with tethered cord have particular tissues linked to their spinal cord hindering spinal cord smooth movement. You may experience general weakness in your legs and frequent bowel incontinence.

2. Spina bifida:

Adults with spina bifida go through unique issues that might stem from the aging process. The condition has both physical and social consequences. Some of them include paralysis, social ostracism from loss of bladder and bowel control and insensate skin.

3. Sacral dimple cysts:

If the dimple pits are bottomless, they may get infected thereby causing cysts. They are common in adolescence but can occur in adults. If you notice any redness or oozing pus on the dimple, it's wise to visit a doctor urgently.

4. Tethered cord syndrome:

At times, sacral dimples may indicate a distinct condition called tethered cord syndrome. It is a spinal cord fixation which hinders your movement. It can increase tension in the spinal cord causing neurological complications.

How to Prevent Sacral Dimple

Typically, it's hard to prevent sacral dimples from occurring. To avoid severe complications, you can take frequent baths. It's advisable always to ensure that the dimple is clean.

When to Call a Doctor

A sacral dimple in adults is usually painless. You need to maintain proper hygiene to avoid infecting the depression. In case of an infection, it's prudent to contact your doctor. It may affect your spinal cord hence causing adverse effects on your overall health.


A shallow or tiny sacral dimple is ordinarily harmless. However, doctors carefully monitor the condition to ascertain that it isn't a spinal cord defect such as spina bifida occult. Also, they may manifest some kidney-related complications. Sacral dimples with a hair tuft and specific skin discoloration are a universal sign of spinal abnormalities. One may develop an inflammation, a birthmark or a hair patch on the affected part.

Typically, sacral dimples are about 20 mm from a person's anus and 5 mm in the center. If a dimple is too thick and beyond 25 mm from an individual's anus, it may indicate a spinal dysraphism disorder. The occurrence of hair patches, lumbosacral lipomas, skin tags and vascular lesions make one susceptible to spinal cord defects. Get in touch with your doctor whenever you notice any signs of these dimples.