The importance of finding the right surgeon

Carolyn -

Posted 2008-07-20

I've read several stories on this website in reference to coccyx surgery. I found the website myself over a year ago. There were several reoccurring concerns and suggestions. One that I took very seriously was to find the right surgeon.

I had suffered from coccyx pain virtually all my life. I was born with a coccyx bone longer than normal. After 40+ years with various degrees of discomfort I finally decided to look into the possibility of having my coccyx removed. First, my primary care doctor explained it was not a surgery that was done. At least not here in the U.S. I told him I had found a website (this one) and many have had the operation. He then tasked me with finding a surgeon who performed such a procedure. Through this website, I found Dr. James Campbell (neurosurgeon) from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore (I live in MD) (see Doctors and specialists in the USA).

After a few consultations and a MRI Dr. Campbell suspected I would benefit from the surgery. On May 1, 2007, I had my coccyx removed. The procedure was done on an out-patient basis. I was in at 7 am, the surgery was at 8:30 and by 11:30 I was on my way home. There is one thing I did differently than any others I have read about. I had the surgery under a local anesthesia. Yes. I was completely awake. I did this by choice simply because I do not like the idea of anesthesia. The procedure only took a little over an hour which included removal of my coccyx and chipping away of the bone directly above. My post-op recovery was very quick. I need only to perform a few tasks (sit up, use the bathroom, and get myself dressed) and I was free to go. And of course my vital signs were completely normal.

I guess my reason for writing this short note is to reiterate just how important it really is to have a good surgeon. Dr. Campbell is phenomenal, and to understand that this procedure can be performed without a general anesthesia. Dr. Campbell said I was his first and after seeing how well it went, he was going to suggest it to future patients. And too I should add, the surgery went exceptionally well. I was driving after 5 days (short trips). I was able to sit comfortably after about two weeks. Today I am completely healed and I am very grateful to Dr. Campbell and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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