, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 703-707
Date: 02 Jul 2013

A bony human tail causing tethered cord syndrome: case report

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Dorsal cutaneous appendages, sometimes referred to as “human tails,” are considered to be markers of underlying occult spinal dysraphism. Rarely, these tail-like structures can themselves be the cause of tethered cord syndrome. However, to date, a “bony human tail” causing tethered cord has not been reported in the literature. One such rare lesion is being reported.


A 2-days-old female child was brought for neurosurgical consultation with a skin-covered bony protuberance in the lower back. Examination of the child did not reveal any neurological deficits. Plain radiographic and CT evaluation showed a dorsal bony protuberance arising from the posterior elements of L1 vertebra. MRI showed the cord to be displaced posteriorly and adherent to the undersurface of the bony tail through a lipoma. During surgery, the bony “tail” was excised, and the cord was untethered with excision of the lipoma, which was tethering the cord to the bony “tail.” When examined 1 year later, the child was developing normally without any focal neurological deficits.


This case is being reported for its rarity and to highlight the hitherto unreported occurrence of “bony human tail” causing tethered cord syndrome.