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Pediatr Neurol. 1998 Sep;19(3):230-3.

The human tail.

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Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Republic of China.


The human tail is a congenital anomaly with a protruding lesion from the lumbosacrococcygeal region. A newborn with a tail-like structure over the coccygeal area observed since birth is presented. Lipoma accompanied by tethered spinal cord were found. In reviewing the literature from 1960 to 1997, 59 cases were described. Higher incidences of spinal dysraphism (49.15%) and tethered spinal cord (20.34%) compared with previous reports were evident. This fact plays an important role in understanding the disturbance of development and regression of human tails. A new classification according to whether the anomaly appears in combination with spinal dysraphism is proposed for clinical usage. Preoperative detailed image studies are needed to clarify the possibility of tethered spinal cord syndrome developing in the future and thus prevent it. Magnetic resonance imaging is the modality of choice if available. Long-term follow-up for possible sequelae after operation, especially in cases with spinal dysraphism, is necessary.

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