How is a sacrococcygeal teratoma treated?
If your baby is born with a SCT, she will undergo surgery to remove the mass and reconstruct the perineum after birth. Your baby should do very well.
A small number of babies, however, experience progressive enlargement of the tumor very quickly prior to birth, which can lead to heart failure (hydrops). If this happens to your baby, the doctor may recommend prenatal intervention.
There are two types of prenatal interventions:
- Open fetal surgery - The mother's uterus is opened, and the baby is taken out of the uterus, and, while the fetus is still attached to and sustained by the mother's placenta, the tumor is removed. The fetus is then returned to the mother's uterus to be carried as close to term as possible. Open fetal surgery can cause preterm labor and early delivery, so mothers are monitored closely after surgery.
- Radio-frequency ablation- During this procedure, a needle is placed into the mother's uterus and into the tumor. Radio-frequency waves are sent through the needle to destroy the blood vessels that lead to the tumor. Without blood flow to the tumor, it does not grow and the risk of heart failure goes down. After delivery of the baby, the mass is completely removed in the operating room, and reconstruction is performed if needed.
What happens after delivery to babies who underwent fetal surgery?
Some reconstructive surgery to properly close the perineum may be needed. Fetal skin is remarkably resilient and may heal on its own without any scarring.
Depending on the development of the tumor's cells, no further treatment may be needed, or your child's physician may determine that chemotherapy may be necessary.