An infant girl born with a "tail" has successfully undergone surgery to have the unusual appendage removed.
The five-month-old child now hospitalised in Hefei, capital of East China’s Anhui Province, was born with the tail extending from the end of her spinal cord and doctors decided to operate on her this week.
Doctor Meng Lixiang with the Anhui Provincial Children’s Hospital led a team of surgeons for the quick operation, without which the child may have suffered health complications in the future.
According to the doctor, the girl’s tail - which differs from a so-called "pseudotail" in that it extends directly from her spine - was most likely caused by a deformity in her central nervous system.
Some 64 percent of central nervous system deformities lead to the growth of tails or pseudotails, Meng added.
The tail was "tied" to the girl’s spinal cord and might have prevented it from developing properly had it not been removed.
Possible future complications resulting from vestigial tails include loss of nerve function, while serious cases can lead to incontinence, hydrocephalus - the accumulation of fluid in the brain - as well as nerve asymmetry.
Fortunately for the little girl, her operation was short and quick, and the doctors do not expect her health to be affected in the future.
Doctor Qi Shiqin, with the hospital’s department of general surgery, said the precise causes of tails and pseudotails are as yet unknown.
However, Qi reminded parents to attend regular prenatal check-ups and to seek treatment for their infants as soon as possible if they are found to have the extra appendage.