Imaging of tailgut cysts

Anup S. Shetty, Ronald Loch, Naomi Yoo, Vincent Mellnick, Kathryn Fowler, Vamsi Narra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Tailgut cysts are congenital lesions that arise from the primitive hindgut in the true embryonic tail but fail to regress during gestation. These lesions are rare and more frequently encountered later in life and more commonly in women, and are the most common primary retrorectal tumor. Tailgut cysts may be asymptomatic or cause rectal bleeding, pain, or symptoms related to mass effect on the rectum or bladder. Pathologically, tailgut cysts are typically multilocular, lined with a variety of epithelial cell types, and are most frequently benign. Imaging is the linchpin of diagnosis due risks associated with biopsy. The purpose of this pictorial review is to present the spectrum of imaging findings associated with tailgut cysts on CT and MRI with focus on the use of advanced MRI and diffusion-weighted imaging. We present case examples of tailgut cysts, their CT and MR imaging findings, and diagnostic and management considerations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2783-2795
Number of pages13
JournalAbdominal Imaging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 29 2015


  • Computed tomography
  • Diffusion-weighted imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Retrorectal cystic hamartoma
  • Tailgut cyst


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