Reluctant about surgery

Kathrine -

Original posting: 2005-07-17:

My name is Kathrine and I live in Sacramento, CA. I am trying to find out if anyone else has a unique tailbone like mine, as I have surgery scheduled but feeling a little reluctant. My tailbone is a bit strange - you can literally touch the tip of it if you press against my butt, just below the area the crack starts (sorry for the visual :). And just above that area, in the lower back region, my lower back is slightly swelled. Most people have a bit of a swelling in that area (hope I'm making sense) but mine is a little bigger than most people's.

As a child, my parents thought I had some weird mutation and took me to several doctors who I think at first were baffled but finally told us (according to my parents) that it's no big deal, that I just have kind of a longer tailbone than most people and mine doesn't curve into the body, like most people. They said not to worry about it unless it became problematic later in life, at which time I can consider surgery to "shorten" it.

That was about 18 years ago. I have always been aware of my tailbone... meaning, I can feel the darn thing when I sit, specially on hard places. So, I just wouldn't do certain things that are uncomfortable such as yoga classes where I had to balance on my butt, etc. No big woop until.... 1998 when I fell straight on my behind, on concrete surface while coming down stadium stairs. I almost passed out from the pain and it turned out that I cracked my tailbone.

I received some physical therapy from a chiropractor and life went on, although I was still uncomfortable with the feeling of having this bone protruding out of me.... until about Jan of this year when all of a sudden, I started feeling pretty excruciating pain in and around my tailbone. I didn't re-injure myself or anything so I am not sure where it came from. Anyway, the pain persisted and I went to my doctor who took some x-rays and said that I'm fine. I insisted that I wasn't since the pain kept persisting.

I did my own research found this website (any many others!) where my symptoms were described with an actual diagnosis. I found a specialist recommended in my area (Daniel Benson at UC-Davis Med center). I visited with him last week and he very quickly said that surgery contains the highest rate of success but explained that there were no guarantees. Since I had read about the options on this website, I knew that surgery would be considered but I was certain that he would want to do more tests before recommending that. He seemed pretty certain that this is coccydynia. When I asked about my "deformality" (i.e., the extra long tailbone) he seemed completely unfazed and said that people have tailbones that are all shapes and sizes.

Anyway, I scheduled my surgery for next month but I am getting very nervous and wondering if this is indeed the best option given the fact that they're messing with my spine! Also, my husband and I are planning to have a baby at the end of the year and I am not sure how having this surgery will affect that OR on the other hand, I am concerned that if I don't have it, it will be problematic during childbirth.

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated from those who can relate.... anyone out there with a tailbone like mine? Thanks fellow-coccydynia-sufferers!

Update: 2005-09-18:

Well, I had surgery on Monday 12 September, and I am very happy with the results. I am virtually pain free and stopped taking my Percocet 2 days after the surgery. The only thing I feel is a pressure like feeling in the area... it's almost like a phantom-tailbone pain but really not significant at all. I started walking the day of my surgery, while in the hospital, going to the bathroom and all. The next day, I was up and around without a problem. And I've been walking for exercise ever since.

I just want a little advice from those who've had the surgery - I'm feeling much better than expected - should I be worried that I am pushing myself too hard? I mean I can pretty much do everything I've done before the surgery... I just don't sit more than like 5 to 10 minutes (even on my cushion pillow) or straight on my tailbone. For the exception of sitting, everything feels normal and I feel good enough to walk around and do work around the house. Does anyone have any words of wisdom regarding post-surgery shoulds- and should-nots?

Update: 2005-10-16:

Hi everyone,

I am 4 weeks post coccygectomy... and just 2 days post my second-surgery! Although the coccygectomy went just fine and I started to feel relief within a week, I had some complications from the surgery. About 2.5 weeks after the surgery, I started to notice that there was a small hole at the bottom of the incision that was still open and draining fluid. I had a dimple-like thing above my anus before the surgery and always wondered what it was. It turns out that I had what is called a Pilonidal Cyst which was connected to a sinus tract. It was in the way of the coccyx, so they decided to remove it during the operation. Well, it didn't heal right and now they sort of think that that was not such a good idea because it was connected to a sinus tract, and I started basically leaking body fluid. Because the area is constantly moist, it doesn't heal. They scheduled me for immediate surgery and slightly open the incision and packed the area... I'll have to do this 3 times a day until it heals (it's called wet to dry packing). It is much more painful than the actual coccygectomy and using the bathroom (both #1 and #2) is extremely painful.

Anyway, I thought I'd share this because I read that a couple of people had this "dimple" above their anus and weren't exactly sure what it was. There is a lot of information about it on the internet and I if you're interested, you can find out more by doing a google search. I was wondering if anyone else had this complication and had any information on the healing process??


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