Baby Born With Human Tail

Human Tail
A better look at the tail. Image credit: Forte et al., Journal of Pediatric Surgery Case Reports, 2021 (CC by 4.0)

Baby in Brazil born with 5-inches-long “true” human tail

In an extremely rare case, a baby born in Brazil was born with a 5 inches long human tail. To date, only 40 such cases have been reported in previous literature. The case that has been described in the “Journal of Pediatric Case Reports”, further states that the baby was premature with any other complications. Examination showed that the patient was jaundiced and showed a “rounded fibroelastic appendage of approximately 4 centimetres in its largest diameter, supported by a 12 centimetres fibrous cord in the left paravertebral lumbosacral region”.

Doctors further ruled out possible systemic alterations via ultrasound. There were no systemic alterations revealed on the ultrasound. Tails on humans are either classified as “true” tails or “pseudo tails”. Pseudo tails are characterised by adipose or cartilaginous tissue and bone elements. According to the study, true human tails are very rare and only 40 cases have been reported. True or real tails are embryonic tails that remain until birth. Embryos usually form a small tail at around 4 weeks which at around 6 to 12 weeks are absorbed by white blood cells. In very rare cases, as with this case, the tail is not broken by the white blood cells and remains with the fetus after birth.

In this case, the team of doctors managed to remove the tail with no further complications

However, in some cases, the tail may even be curled or twitched. Doctors investigated other potential conditions that could be present in the boy before the removal of the tail. “Due to the common ectodermal origin between the skin and the central nervous system, it is essential that the pediatrician or pediatric surgeon investigate the presence of hidden spinal dysraphism in patients with suspected skin lesions, as they may be the only visible abnormality and early diagnosis can prevent evolution to severe neurological changes,” the team wrote.

Studies have shown that spina bifida is often associated with having a true tail. However, in this case, the infant did not have any underlying medical conditions. A cause for the “true” tail could not be concluded. Though it was noted that the mother was treated with first-generation cephalosporin for a urinary tract infection and continued to smoke 10 cigarettes a day, even during pregnancy. No further problems were reported following the removal of the tail and the boy was perfectly healthy.

Source:  Journal of Pediatric Case Reports.

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Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.


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