Case report: Misdiagnosis of tailgut cyst presenting as recurrent perianal fistula with pelvic abscess

Kevin N. Johnson, Tonia M. Young-Fadok, David Carpentieri, Juan M. Acosta, David M. Notrica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Tailgut cysts are uncommon lesions that usually occur within the presacral space. The relative rarity and nonspecific complaints associated with these lesions often lead to misdiagnosis or unnecessary procedures before the correct diagnosis is made. We describe a case of a 16-year-old female who presented with pelvic pain. She had previously undergone several procedures at an outside institution for recurrent perianal fistula and perirectal abscess. Subsequent evaluation under anesthesia revealed a presacral cystic mass with a well-developed tract within the anorectal ring in the posterior midline. This mass was surgically removed using a combined transanal and posterior sagittal excision technique and was found to be a tailgut cyst upon pathologic evaluation. Tailgut cysts and other presacral masses should be included in the differential for patients with recurrent abscess in the presacral space or fistula within the anal canal. A variety of surgical approaches are available depending on the anatomy of the lesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E33-E36
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Misdiagnosis
  • Posterior anal fistula
  • Recurrent pelvic abscess
  • Recurrent presacral abscess
  • Tailgut cyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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