(CMC) – The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) says it has successfully treated a baby who was born with an abnormal spine, leading to the emergence of a tail.
In a statement, the GPHC said 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,” GOHC said.
“The human tail is usually considered as a marker of underlying pathology of peculiar spinal dysraphism. The reported presentations of spinal dysraphism include spina bifida occulta, meningocele, and spinal lipoma or tethered spinal cord. However, the etiological basis of the human tail is not clear yet,” the statement continued.
The GHPC said that on June 18 this year, a medical team led by Chief Neurosurgeon, Dr Amarnauth Dukhi successfully performed a procedure to remove the tail and reconstruct the spinal canal of the 10-day-old infant boy.
It said that the unidentified 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,” the hospital said. “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.”
The GPHC said that 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,” it added.