Spine ultrasounds should not be routinely performed for patients with simple sacral dimples

Acta Paediatr. 2016 Aug;105(8):890-4. doi: 10.1111/apa.13422. Epub 2016 Apr 24.


Primary care providers commonly obtain spine ultrasounds for neonates with simple sacral dimples due to perceived concerns about underlying spinal dysraphism, despite a lack of scientific evidence. Nine papers addressing routine spine ultrasounds for children with sacral dimples showed that 3.4% of the 5166 patients had abnormal spine ultrasounds, compared with the 4.8% reported by another study for children without sacral dimples. Most of the abnormal findings in patients with sacral dimples were of no clinical significance.

Conclusion: Sacral dimples do not predict underlying spinal cord malformations, and spine ultrasounds should not be performed for neonates with simple sacral dimples.

Keywords: Dermal sinus tract; Neonate; Sacral dimple; Spine ultrasound; Tethered spinal cord.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Sacrococcygeal Region
  • Spinal Dysraphism / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography*