Human Tail: A Benign Condition Hidden Out of Social Stigma and Shame in Young Adult - A Case Report and Review

Asian J Neurosurg. Jan-Mar 2019;14(1):1-4. doi: 10.4103/ajns.AJNS_209_17.


A human tail is a rare congenital anomaly which mostly presents immediately after birth or in early childhood. Here, we are presenting a case of 17-year-old male who presented with 18-cm long tail, which was hidden till this age because of social stigma and shame. This is longest human tail reported of our knowledge. This patient presented to us because he started having difficulty, pain while sitting, and discomfort in daily activities because of long tail. We suspect there are far more cases of human tails in developing world which are hidden because of lack of knowledge, illiteracy, social stigma, and shame. This patient had no neurological deficit and had no bowel/bladder involvement. The radiological investigation was suggestive of spina bifida at L5 and S3-S4 levels (site of attachment of the tail), and tip of the coccyx had bony spur directed posteriorly. Intraoperatively, no connection was found between tail and neural tissue. Human tail is associated with occult spinal lesions in 50% of cases, hence careful neurological and radiological investigations are warranted before surgical exploration.

Keywords: Human tail; spina bifida; spinal dysraphism.

Publication types

  • Review