Baby born with rare ‘tail’ successfully treated by GPHC team


A baby who was born with an abnormal spine, leading to the emergence of a tail, was successfully treated by a team from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), according to a release from the hospital.

See below full release from the GPHC:

The unique presentation of a pathology such as the “human tail” is not only rare in Guyana, but the world. A rare congenital anomaly which mostly presents immediately after birth or in early childhood, there are less than 60 cases documented in medical literature of caudal appendage or the human tail.

The human tail is usually considered as a marker of underlying pathology of peculiar spinal dysraphism. The reported presentations of spinal dysraphism includes spina bifida occulta, meningocele, and spinal lipoma or tethered spinal cord. However, the etiological basis of the human tail is not clear yet.

The tail attached to the baby (Photo: GPHC)

On June 18, 2023, a medical team at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) led by Chief Neurosurgeon, Dr. Amarnauth Dukhi successfully performed a procedure to remove the tail and reconstruct the spinal canal of a 10-day old infant boy – a sophisticated technique which also required the protection of the patient’s spinal nerves. The infant has since been discharged from the hospital.

The 10-day old baby was born with a tail which is basically a continuation of the spine/spinal nerve elements, this was surgically removed to allow the child an opportunity to develop normally. While a human baby having a caudal appendage resembling a tail generates an unusual amount of interest, excitement, and anxiety – often, parents may be concerned about the social stigma, superstition or shame that may befall their young child when they are integrated into society.

Due to its extremely rare presentation, the occurrence of the human tail is a phenomenon of great interest to both the lay and medical community. As a tertiary medical institution with a commitment to medical education and research, Neurosurgery, GPHC will be presenting this case to the global medical community for documentation and review.

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