A True Human Tail in a Neonate : Case report and literature review

Mahesh K. Pillai, Smitha T. Nair


A true human tail is a benign vestigial caudal cutaneous structure composed of adipose, connective tissue, muscle, vessels, nerves and mechanoreceptors. A true human tail can be distinguished from a pseudotail as the latter is commonly associated with underlying spinal dysraphism, which requires specialised management. True human tails are very rare, with fewer than 40 cases reported to date. We report a healthy one-day-old male newborn who was referred to the Bharath Hospital, Kottayam, Kerala, India, in 2014 with a cutaneous appendage arising from the lumbosacral region. Magnetic resonance imaging of the spine ruled out spinal dysraphism. The appendage was removed by simple surgical excision. Clinicians should emphasise use of ‘true tail’ and ‘pseudotail’ as specific disparate terms as the clinical, radiological and histological findings of these conditions differ significantly, along with management strategies and outcomes.


Tail; Newborn; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Spinal Dysraphism; Case Report; India.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18295/squmj.2016.17.01.020


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