Indian Journal of Dermatology
  Publication of IADVL, WB
  Official organ of AADV
Indexed with Science Citation Index (E) , Web of Science and PubMed
Users online: 1791  
Home About  Editorial Board  Current Issue Archives Online Early Coming Soon Guidelines Subscriptions  e-Alerts    Login  
    Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this page Email this page

Table of Contents 
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 638
Faun tail overlying spinal dysraphism (diastematomyelia) at the mid thoracic level: Cosmetic improvement achieved with diode laser epilation

Department of Dermatology, PSG Hospitals and PSGIMSR, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication5-Nov-2015

Correspondence Address:
Lakshmi Chembolli
Department of Dermatology, PSG Hospitals and PSGIMSR, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.169165

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Chembolli L. Faun tail overlying spinal dysraphism (diastematomyelia) at the mid thoracic level: Cosmetic improvement achieved with diode laser epilation. Indian J Dermatol 2015;60:638

How to cite this URL:
Chembolli L. Faun tail overlying spinal dysraphism (diastematomyelia) at the mid thoracic level: Cosmetic improvement achieved with diode laser epilation. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Oct 20];60:638. Available from:


Faun tail which represents congenital localized hypertrichosis (with coarse and dark hairs) over the spine is a rare entity and may serve as a cutaneous marker for occult spinal dysraphism. Although the lumbosacral area is most commonly involved, rarely the thoracic and cervical area may also be involved. Separation of the spinal cord into two hemicords is called diastematomyelia and is of two types. The two hemicords are usually symmetric although the length of separation is variable. In Type 1, the two hemicords are separated by an osseous/cartilaginous septum. Type 2 comprises a single dural tube containing two hemicords separated by a fibrous septum. [1]

A 16-year-old girl with Fitzpatrick skin type IV presented with a "faun tail" over the thoracic spine extending from 4 to T12 levels, present since birth [Figure 1]. There was no family history of spinal abnormalities. She was psychologically disturbed by the presence of excess hair over the spinal area and complained of difficulty in interaction with peers.
Figure 1: "Faun tail" over the thoracic spine extending from T4 to T12 levels, present since birth

Click here to view

Neurosurgical evaluation at 7 years of age confirmed the absence of bowel or bladder involvement. MRI study of the thoracic spine showed occult spinal dysraphism at the thoracic level [Figure 2], diagnosed as diastematomyelia with separate dural sac/hemicord with central osseous septum - Type I split cord malformation (SCM). The detailed report is listed in [Table 1].
Figure 2: MRI study of the thoracic spine showed occult spinal dysraphism at the thoracic level

Click here to view
Table 1: MRI report prior to surgery

Click here to view

Following excision of the bony spur she has remained asymptomatic troubled only by the cosmetic disfigurement of the "faun tail."

Treatment was carried out using the 810-nm diode laser LightSheer Duet™ (Lumenis, Inc., Santa Clara, CA, USA) with a 9-mm-square spot, fluences ranging from 17 to 27 J/cm 2 , 1 Hz, and a pulse-duration of 100 milliseconds. Starting with an initial low fluence (17 J/cm 2 ), there was gradual increment to a fluence of 27 J/cm 2 . From the fourth sitting onward, a second pass with slightly lower energies (2-4 J/cm 2 less than the first pass) was administered soon after completion of the first pass. Cold packs were applied over the treatment area and surrounding area before and after treatment to decrease pain. Sessions were repeated at 4-8 weekly intervals. Minimal hyperpigmentation was observed following treatment with fluences of 26 J/cm 2 which subsided with topical hydroquinone 4% cream for 2 weeks. Regrowth of thinner and lighter hairs was seen following 13 sessions. She was satisfied with the cosmetic outcome [Figure 3].
Figure 3: Patchy regrowth of thinner and lighter hairs after 13 sessions

Click here to view

To overcome the psychological problems, cosmetic treatment of the "faun tail" using lasers (ruby laser, alexandrite laser) had been carried out. [2] Electroepilation and intense pulsed light (IPL) epilation have been tried in lumbosacral hypertrichosis but not found to be superior to laser systems for hair removal. [3] Lasers with longer wavelengths like the diode, alexandrite and the 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser are preferable in darker skin types as they cause less pain, epidermal injury and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation seen with lasers with shorter wavelengths. The suitable candidates for alexandrite laser epilation include patients with light skin color (up to Type III) and dark hair, while the diode laser may be safer in darker skin types (Type IV-VI). The long-pulsed diode laser (800-810 nm) has been used extensively for LHR and is safe in patients with Fitzpatrick skin types I-V. [2],[4]

Paradoxical hypertrichosis refers to the excess hair around the previously treated site and is an adverse effect seen with laser treatment but more with IPL. [5]

Cold packs around the treatment area may prevent low fluences from reaching the peripheral follicles and minimize this adverse effect. A double pass with the laser either soon after the first pass or 1 week later with slightly less fluences is thought to prevent paradoxical hypertrichosis. [5] Permanent reduction denotes long-term decreased hair growth with thinner, lighter and finer hairs rather than the total absence of hair growth in the treated site.

After 13 sessions, patchy regrowth of thinner hairs was seen which was cosmetically acceptable. The diode laser is safe and effective for achieving near permanent hair removal in the treatment of the faun tail in darker skin types.

   References Top

Rilliet B. Diastematomyelia. In: Ozek M, Cinalli G, Maixner W. editors. Spina Bifida: Management and Outcome. Italy: Springer-Verlag; 2008. p. 487-513.  Back to cited text no. 1
Kaptanoglu AF, Kaptanoglu E. Faun Tail Nevus and Spinal Dysraphism: Cosmetic Improvement with Alexandrite Laser Epilation. Ann Dermatol 2011;23(Suppl 3):S296-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ibrahimi OA, Avram MM, Hanke CW, Kilmer SL, Anderson RR. Laser hair Removal. Dermatol Ther 2011;24:94-107.  Back to cited text no. 3
Handrick C, Alster TS. Comparison of long-pulsed diode and long-pulsed alexandrite lasers for hair removal: A long-term clinical and histological study. Dermatol Surg 2001;27:622-6  Back to cited text no. 4
Desai S, Mahmoud BH, Bhatia AC, Hamzavi IH. Paradoxical hypertrichosis after laser therapy: A Review. Dermatol Surg 2010;36:291-8.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1]


Print this article  Email this article
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Article in PDF (1,094 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded41    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal