By Mercy Agumenaitwe,
According to a case study entry in the Journal of Paediatric Surgery, “the child had no previous history of radiation exposure, or infections during pregnancy“, and she was born to “two healthy parents” in their late 20s.
The doctors noted that the tail-like structure was covered with hair and skin and the infant cried when the appendage was pinched.
They then performed a Lumbosacral X-ray – an imaging test that helps the doctor view the anatomy of the lower back – but found no evidence of anomalies or bone structures inside the tail.
This means that the tail was not a functionless tail in the sense of an appendix, which has over time lost any usage in the body, but a “true tail” – a benign structure composed of connective tissue, muscle and nerves.
The child’s MRI scan also revealed no brain anomalies, and was negative for spine abnormalities.
Once doctors ruled out spinal issues, the baby girl was re-assessed by a paediatrics and general surgery team when she reached two months old.
When the doctors were satisfied that there had been adequate weight gain and growth for age, the tail structure had increased 0.8 cm in length.
With no evidence of skin lesions, a decision was made to remove the tail and reconstruct the area by Limberg plasty – where a diamond-shaped incision (cut) is made to remove the affected skin and underlying tissue.
According to the journal: “The presence of tails in humans is extremely infrequent. In the most recent review by Tojima and Yamada in 2020, which collected case reports in English, French, Japanese, Italian, and German, there were only 195 cases of human tails identified until 2017.”
In 2021, a Brazilian baby was born with a 12cm-long tail with a strange sphere hanging on the end.
The child’s birth and tail-removal surgery were detailed in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery Case Reports.
According to the study, humans can have a “tail” while in the womb, but it’s usually reabsorbed before birth.
But in some incredibly rare cases, the tail continues to grow.
It was only after an ultrasound scan that doctors confirmed the tail was not attached to its nervous system, meaning it could be surgically removed.
Following its removal, doctors discovered the ball was composed of fat and embryonic connective tissue. The tail itself was just boneless tissue.