Colon (tumor & nontumor)
Congenital anomalies
Cyst of retrorectal space

Topic Completed: 1 May 2013

Revised: 7 January 2019, last major update May 2013

Copyright: (c) 2003-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Cyst of retrorectal space

Hanni Gulwani, M.B.B.S.
Page views in 2019: 1,286
Page views in 2020 to date: 587
Cite this page: Gulwani H. Cyst of retrorectal space. website. Accessed August 6th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Also called tailgut cyst, retrorectal hamartoma
  • Retrorectal space is loose areolar tissue plane between fascia propria of rectum and presacral space
  • Rare but most common retrorectal cystic lesions in adults, occurring mostly in middle aged women (Radiographics 2001;21:575)
  • Often misdiagnosed clinically (J Am Coll Surg 2003;196:880)
  • Arises from remnants of embryonic postanal gut

  • Dermoid cyst: unilocular, lined by squamous epithelium and skin adnexae, no smooth muscle
  • Epidermoid cyst: unilocular, lined by squamous epithelium without adnexa
  • Rectal duplication cyst: unilocular, lined by colonic, gastric or respiratory epithelium with organized smooth muscle similar to muscularis propria
  • Cystic hamartoma: multilocular with squamous, transitional or glandular lining, disorganized smooth muscle, occasionally foreign body granulomatous inflammation
Diagrams / tables

Images hosted on other servers:

Retrorectal space

Case reports
Gross description
  • Multilocular, variable solid areas
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Retrorectal cyst

Oval shaped, gray-white appearance

Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Cystic hamartomas

Squamous epithelium and focal columnar epithelium

Discontinuous bundles of smooth muscle

Early malignant degeneration

Mucinous carcinoma

Back to top