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Sacrococcygeal teratomas: midline reconstruction improves cosmesis without compromising outcomes

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Abstract

Aim

Several studies have addressed the long-term functional, psychosexual and psychosocial outcomes following sacrococcygeal teratoma (SCT) excision. It is well reported that the classical chevron incision and reconstruction can leave a cosmetically unsatisfactory result; however, there is little in the literature focussed on improving this outcome. In our institution the preference is to perform a midline reconstruction, where possible, this is felt to improve appearance without compromising the oncological or functional outcome. The aim of this study was to evaluate patient-perceived cosmetic outcomes of the midline reconstruction.

Methods

All patients undergoing surgery for SCT between 2007 and 2020 were included in the study. Patient demographics, operation type, functional outcome and recurrence were all recorded. The primary outcome measure was patient/parent satisfaction with the cosmetic appearance. This was assessed using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Following ethical approval parents were asked questions from two existing validated patient outcome questionnaires: “Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale” (POSAS) v2.0 and the “Patient Scar Assessment Questionnaire”.

Results

Thirty-two patients underwent surgery at our institution for SCT during the study period. Twenty-four had a posterior approach with midline reconstruction, two laparotomy and excision (excluded from this study) and six had a combined approach. Median follow-up was 35 months (8.5–96 months). There were no recurrences. 4/30 (13%) have persistent urological symptoms, and 1/30 (3%) has constipation requiring bowel management. Questionnaires were sent to 26/30 families with a 77% return rate. Median total score was 11 (7.4–17.5) on a 60-point scale (6, as normal skin, 60, worst imaginable scar). Twenty (95%) reported that the scar never affects the child’s activities and 15 (71%) said they are “not at all” conscious of the scar.

Conclusion

Scars can lead to an array of cosmetic, functional, and psychological consequences and as such consideration needs to be given to scarring following surgery for sacrococcygeal teratomas. This study demonstrates that a midline reconstruction produces a cosmetically favourable outcome. We, therefore, recommend where appropriate a midline reconstruction should be considered for SCT.

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Correspondence to K. M. O’Shea.

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O’Shea, K.M., Sanders, E., Farrelly, P.J. et al. Sacrococcygeal teratomas: midline reconstruction improves cosmesis without compromising outcomes. Pediatr Surg Int 38, 617–621 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00383-021-05055-1

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