World’s first case of a true human tail was reported in Odisha recently. A tail-like growth was found at the back of an infant who was born in Kakatpur, last year in November. The Neurosurgeons at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, removed the tail in a rare surgery in Bhubaneswar.

Human tail is a rare congenital condition. Only 195 of such cases have been reported worldwide among which 26 cases of true bony tails have been recorded that too in the lower end of spine in the coccygeal region. This is the first time a case of thoracic tail has come to light ever in the world.

The panicked parents of the newborn brought the child to SUM hospital where, after all the necessary tests, the operation occurred on 25th November, 2021.

Why is the Condition So Rare?

“This is one of a kind in the world. This is unique because the tail was not at the bottom of the spinal cord, where the tailbone is. The unnatural growth was seen at the thoracic spine, at the back.” said Ashok Mahapatra, one of the surgeons who performed this rare surgery.

“This is the world’s first successful surgery of a tail bone growing at the top back portion of a human being,” he added.

According to several researchers, all fetuses develop an embryonic tail while in the womb around the fourth week of gestation, but it is usually reabsorbed back into the body by the eighth week, forming the vestigial tailbone or coccyx.

“True bony human tail is exceedingly rare. In the initial days, certain cases with the growth of hair, skin, or flesh have been cited as bony tails. But now a bony tail is considered to be documented only if it has a bony core with muscular attachment and skin cover,” Dr Deo said.

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Who are the Doctors Behind this Rare Surgery?

The team of doctors who performed the surgery included the Dean of SUM Hospital and former Director of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Dr Ashok Mohapatra and Dr. Ramachandra Deo.

“It is a very unique case. The baby had three other medical issues as well. It was extremely difficult. We conducted three operations at a time and it took four hours. All should know about the rare operation that has been possible in Odisha, so that they don’t panic if they happen to face the issue,” Mohapatra told in the press conference.

The doctors took out a 3 centimetre long tail bone from the back of the baby. The baby has also been doing well since the surgery.

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What do the Parents of the Newborn have to Say?

The father of the baby, Sushant Prusty, appreciates the “Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana” of Odisha government, due to which the operation was conducted free of cost even in a private Hospital.

Prusty mentioned, “We consulted Dr. Mohapatra after finding out the anomaly in our baby. He assured us and finally our baby has been cured. We are happy.”


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