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Caudal Regression Syndrome

Abstract

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NORD is very grateful to Frank Chervenak, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Caudal Regression Syndrome

  • Caudal Dysplasia
  • Caudal Dysplasia
  • Caudal Dysplasia Sequence
  • Sacral Agenesis, Congenital
  • Sacral Regression

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

Summary
Caudal regression syndrome is a broad term for a rare complex disorder characterized by abnormal development of the lower (caudal) end of the spine. The spine consists of many small bones (vertebrae) that collectively form the spinal column. The spinal column is generally broken down into three segments – the cervical spine, consisting of the vertebrae just below the skull; the thoracic spine, consisting of the vertebrae in the chest region; and the lumbar spine, consisting of the vertebrae of the lower back. A triangularly-shaped bony structure called the sacrum joins the lumbar portion of spine to the pelvis. The sacrum consists of five vertebrae fused together. At the end of the sacrum is the tailbone (coccyx). A wide range of abnormalities may potentially occur in infants with caudal regression syndrome including abnormal development (agenesis) of the sacrum and coccyx and abnormalities of the lumbar spine. More severe malformations may occur in some cases. Abnormalities of the lower spine can cause a variety of additional complications including joint contractures, clubfeet and disruption or damage of the end of the spinal cord may occur, potentially causing urinary incontinence. Additional anomalies of the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, heart, respiratory system, upper limbs and upper portions of the spine can also occur. The exact cause of caudal regression syndrome is unknown. Both environmental and genetic factors are suspected to play a role in the development of the disorder.

Introduction
Some sources in the medical literature classify a condition called sirenomelia as the most severe form of caudal regression syndrome. However, recently many researchers have indicated that sirenomelia is a similar, but distinct, disorder. NORD has a separate report on sirenomelia.

Organizations related to Caudal Regression Syndrome

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