An 11-month-old child, dubbed Yang Yang by local media, who was born with the 15cm long fleshy growth and 6 inch tail due to a birth defect, has finally had it removed.
Though they resisted having surgery to remove the tail at first, the baby’s family who nicknamed him ‘little monkey’, has finally let the baby have the operation this month.
According to People’s China Daily, Yang Yang developed the tail in the womb as a result of a neural tube deformity. During the first month of life, an embryo grows a structure called the neural tube that will eventually form the spine and nervous system.
It is thought something went wrong with this process and Yang Yang’s spine didn’t develop properly. He had holes in the vertebrae in his back, and the membranes that protect the spinal cord poked through one of them, creating what is known as a menigocele, a fleshy growth that looks like a ‘tail’.
Yang Yang’s mother said when she went for her check ups doctors didn’t tell her anything was wrong with her baby. So when Yang Yang was born via a C-section, in Yibin, a city in south-west China’s Sichuan Province, she was shocked to see he had a tail.
Yang Yang’s grandmother thought it was a good thing because it meant he might earn a lot of money when he grew up.
His mother, unnamed in reports, said: ‘It wasn’t a big bother in the beginning – I’ d just lift the “tail” when I needed to change his nappies.’
But several months later Yang Yang started going to the toilet more frequently and his mother noticed he wasn’t very strong when he kicked – and feared something was wrong.
The family were told they would have to wait until he was a little older to have surgery to remove the growth.
When doctors said he was old enough for the operation, they went to Southwest Hospital in the neighbouring city of Chongqing to have it removed.
Lead physician in Yang Yang’s operation, Lin Jiangkai, said the tail was most probably due to the child’s mother not taking enough folic acid supplements during pregnancy.