Should I have my coccyx removed?

First of all, make sure that the doctor advising you has plenty of experience and success with this operation - see Find a specialist.

A doctor will not normally consider you for surgery unless:

  1. Your pain is in the area of the coccyx and is caused or aggravated by sitting. They may test by injecting a local anesthetic to check that the coccyx is the source of the problem.
  2. Any treatable diseases or conditions that might cause the pain have been, as far as possible, ruled out.
  3. Other treatments, such as manual methods or corticosteroid injections, have not provided sustained relief.
  4. You are a 'good candidate' for surgery. Different surgeons have different ways of deciding if you are a good candidate. Some regard anyone who has coccyx pain because of a direct injury to be a good candidate. Some say that getting temporary relief from pain with a corticosteriod injection shows you are a good candidate. Probably the best indication is having a coccyx which has been shown to be unstable, on the basis of a dynamic sit/stand x-ray.

If you meet these criteria, and are offered surgery to relieve your pain, you have to decide whether to go through with it. You are probably frightened at the thought, but desperate to relieve the pain and get your life back. Here are some points to consider, for and against surgery:

For

  1. If you meet the criteria above, and your surgeon has plenty of experience and success with this operation, surgery is likely to substantially reduce or eliminate your pain.
  2. Most people who have had their coccyx removed are happy they did so.

Against

  1. It will probably increase your pain in the short term, and put you out of action for weeks. Full recovery will probably take months, it could be a year.
  2. You may be one of the minority who get little or no benefit from the operation.
  3. Analysis of published research suggests that 1 or 2% of patients may have increased pain after surgery.

The information on this page is as accurate and complete as I can make it. But I can give no guarantees and I am not a doctor. The decision rests with you and your doctor.

Updated 2011-08-08

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