- Xiao Wei, from Southern China, was born with spina bifida – a condition that stops the spine developing normally and causes it to split
- Xiao has myelomeningocele spina bifida which causes the spinal membranes and cord to push out of spine and create a sac in the back
- The ‘tail’ continues to grow but surgeons say they cannot remove growth until they repair Xiao’s spine
A seven-month-old boy is suffering with a large growth that resembles a tail and it is growing longer every week.
The growth developed a result of the boy, named Xiao Wei, being born with spina bifida.
His mother Chen Wei, from Guangdong in Southern China, said she has asked for the growth to be removed but surgeons say it isn’t possible, at least at the moment.
Seven-month-old Xiao Wei was born with spina bifida, a condition that causes the spine to become deformed. It is this that has caused the unusual growth at the bottom of his spinal column
She said: ‘We have asked the surgeons to remove the tail but they tell us it is not that simple.’
The spinal cord is responsible for connecting all parts of the body to the brain.
In the first month of life, a developing baby in the womb grows a structure called the neural tube. It is this that will eventually form the spine and nervous system.
The exact causes are unknown, but several risk factors have been identified, the most significant being a lack of folic acid before and at the very start of pregnancy.
There are a number of different types of spina bifida but Xiao has myelomeningocele, the most serious variant of the condition. It affects one pregnancy in every 1,000 in Britain.
Surgeon Huang Chuanping says that if they operate now the 10 cm long ‘tail’ it will return unless they repair the spinal canal first
Spina bifida or ‘split spine’ is a fault in the development of the spinal cord which leaves a gap in the spine. In Xiao’s case the spinal membranes and cord have pushed out to create a sac in the baby¿s back.
Myelomeningocele spina bifida causes the spinal column to remain open along the bones making up the spine.
The membranes and spinal cord push out to create a sac in the baby’s back. This sometimes leaves the nervous system vulnerable to infections that may be fatal.
In most cases surgery can be can close the defect but damage to the nervous system will usually already have taken place, resulting in a range of symptoms, including paralysis and incontinence.
Chinese medics say the growth at the base of Xiao’s spine has been caused by damage to the outer wall of the child’s spinal canal.
Surgeon Huang Chuanping explained: ‘Xiao’s growth is quite well developed and now measures some 10 centimetres.’
‘If we cut it off it will simply grow again. We need to repair the spinal canal first to stop it reoccurring