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Advances in Orthopedics
Volume 2011, Article ID 153797, 4 pages
Case Report

Surgical Treatment of a Patient with Human Tail and Multiple Abnormalities of the Spinal Cord and Column

1Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery, General Hospital of Tianjin Medical University, no. 154, Anshan Road, Heping District, Tianjin 300052, China
2Department of Neurosurgery, Tianjin Children’s Hospital, Tianjin 300074, China
3Faculty of Basic Medicine, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300070, China

Received 29 June 2010; Accepted 28 September 2010

Academic Editor: Stephen Esses

Copyright © 2011 Chunquan Cai et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The dorsal cutaneous appendage, or so-called human tail, is often considered to be a cutaneous marker of underlying occult dysraphism. The authors present a case of human tail occurring in a 9-month-old infant with multiple abnormalities of the spinal cord and spine. Examination revealed unremarkable except for a caudal appendage and a dark pigmentation area in the low back. Neuroradiological scans revealed cleft vertebrae and bifid ribbon, split cord malformations, block vertebrae, and hemivertebra. Surgical excision of the tail and untethering the spinal cord by removal of the septum were performed. The infant had an uneventful postoperative period and was unchanged neurologically for 18 months of followup. To our knowledge, no similar case reports exist in the literature. The specific features in a rare case with a human tail treated surgically are discussed in light of the available literature.