***Mother Chen Wei holding her son Xiao, who has a tail-like growth due to spina bifida. Doctors will repair the baby’s spinal canal to correct the condition.***
A mother in China is urging doctors to help her seven-month-old son, who was born with a three-inch-long “tail” that is still growing.
The boy, Xiao Wei, was born with spina bifida, a disorder in which the spinal column is not fully closed.
Xiao has a variant of the condition called myelomeningocele, in which the spinal cord protrudes, forming a sac that contains the spinal matter.
Mother Chen Wei, from China’s Guangdong province, said surgeons have told her they cannot simply remove the growth.
Surgeon Huang Chanping told news agencies: “The growth is quite well developed and now measures some 10 centimeters.
“If we cut it off, it will simply grow again. We need to repair the spinal canal first to stop it reoccurring.”
In addition to physical complications, children with spina bifida may have learning disabilities and are at higher risk for ADHD.
In most cases, doctors perform surgery during infancy to prevent brain damage and physical disability. Folic acid taken during pregnancy is recommended to prevent the condition.
About 1,500 babies are born with spina bifida in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.