Team of neurosurgeons at SSH removed Long ‘Tail’ from Boy’s Back

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A team of neurosurgeons at the government Super Specialty Hospital (SSH) in Nagpur have successfully removed a 18-cm long human ‘tail’, apparently the longest recorded so far, from the back of a teenage boy after its abnormal growth turned painful for him.

The doctors operated upon the 18-year-old boy with the 18 cm tail growing from the posterior end of the body on the back.

The head of the neurosurgery department and the team, Dr Pramod Giri today said though the family knew about this unusual growth, they did not see a doctor due to the social stigma and superstition attached to it.

Besides, it was not affecting his health anyway. “Generally, the defect is detected very early as it is present from birth and since it grows with age it cannot remain undetected. But the parents as well as the child hid the fact all these years. The defect can be surgically corrected within few months of birth,” the doctors said.

When it became very painful for the boy, his parents brought him to SSH last week and was operated upon two days back.
“When the size of the tail grew and a bone developed inside it, the tail began to press on the boy’s back. It was cosmetically and psychologically disturbing for him. Hence the parents approached us,” Dr Giri explained.

The patient was unable to sleep or sit properly.

“Though the surgery is not very demanding, it is done by a neurosurgeon as it involves a part of the spinal cord. It arises from a compression at the tail end of the back and is medically referred as the neuro-development abnormality. This case is very rare and calls for a presentation in a medical journal as the tail is apparently the longest recorded so far,” Dr Giri claimed.

Human tail generally manifests into problems related to bladder functioning – like lack of control of bowel. It can also result in pain and loss of function in lower limbs or legs.

Dr Giri was assisted by two doctors from the neurosurgery department – Dr Divik Mittal and Dr Vivek Agrawal and anesthetists – Dr Lulu Fatema Vali, Dr Abhay Ganar and Dr Vaibhav Chouhan.

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