Postnatal Surgery for Sacrococcygeal Teratoma

What is postnatal surgery for sacrococcygeal teratoma?

Postnatal surgery for sacrococcygeal teratoma is a procedure conducted after birth to remove the tumor and tailbone to prevent the tumor from growing back.

The tailbone is removed because the tumor grows from it, and if it's not removed, the tumor may grow back.

If the tumor is in your child's abdomen, their surgeon may need to make two incisions, one in their buttocks and one in their abdomen.

After surgery for sacrococcygeal teratoma

After surgery, your child will go back to their hospital room. Here's what to expect:

  • Incision: Your child will have sutures over the incision, then a gauze dressing. The sutures will be removed approximately one to two weeks after surgery. Initially after surgery, your child will be placed on their stomach in prone position for a few days up to one week to give the incision time to heal. Sometimes, thin strips of tape, called STERI-STRIPS, are placed after sutures are removed.
  • Pain relief: Your child will get pain medication as needed. When they first come back to their room after surgery, they may need narcotic medication such as morphine or Versed. These medications are administered through an intravenous (IV) line. Once they're able to drink, they can take acetaminophen (TYLENOL) by mouth.
  • Fluids: Until your baby can drink, they'll get needed fluids — as well as antibiotics to prevent infection — through their IV.

Your child will be discharged from the hospital when:

  • Their incision is healing well
  • They don't have a fever
  • They are able to drink, urinate and have a bowel movement

Caring for your child at home

Once your child comes home, they may have formula or breast milk. You may also give them acetaminophen (TYLENOL), according to their doctor's instructions, for any pain they may have.

The STERI-STRIPS will fall off on their own. Once the edges begin to curl up, you may remove them.

Take additional care when cleaning your child's bottom, because the incision area near your child's rectum can become infected if you don't keep it clean. You may give your child a tub bath one to two weeks after surgery.

You'll need to take your child for a follow-up appointment with their surgeon two weeks after they come home from the hospital, then every few months until they are 2 years old, with annual follow-up appointments after that. At each visit, your child will have a blood test called an alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test, which checks for the return of the tumor.

When to call the doctor

Please call your child's doctor (at Children's Hospital, call 215-590-2730) if:

  • Your child develops a fever greater than 101 degrees F
  • Your child isn't urinating as often as usual (decreased number of wet diapers)
  • Your child is vomiting

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