Surgery after years of suffering


Posted 2009-04-26

I am a 38 years old female physician and have had tailbone pain for 4-5 years. I fell and injured my tailbone about 15 years ago but had no long-lasting pain from that injury. It is not clear what instigated the pain when it started 5 years ago. I went to several orthopedists who could not tell me what was wrong with it based on x-rays or MRIs and they said the pain usually resolves on its own. I had two steroid injections given locally which provided complete relief but only for 3-6 months each. I saw a different spine specialist who recommended an epidural steroid injection. I had that done (but also asked them to inject the steroid all around the tip of the coccyx since that had provided relief in the past). This injection kept me pain free for about 9 months. After that one wore off, I just decided to try to live with the pain.

I saw one doctor who thought I had disc disease at L5-S1 (which MRI confirmed) and he thought that was causing the tailbone pain. He wanted to do a discogram to all 5 lumbar discs and potentially fuse the diseased ones. I thought that was extreme, and it differed from what I understood about the innervation of the coccygeal area.

Finally I ended up discussing coccygectomy with two different spine specialists and had it done 2 days ago. My surgeon removed only the distal tip of my coccyx (3 small sections) and left the upper part which was fused to my sacrum intact. The incision is deep in my gluteal cleft about 2-3 inches long and about 1 inch above my anus. He said the tailbone was very mobile and very sharp. I could tell from the moment I woke up that my old pain was gone.

I spent one night in the hospital and barely needed pain medicine. I am post-op day 2 and only taking advil. The pain is almost non-existent. I am so pleased. I am trying to not sit up or to lie on my back while the stitches heal, but otherwise am very comfortable walking, standing and lying on my stomach or sides. I highly recommend this procedure. It was so easy and the years of suffering were so awful.

What is coccydynia? | Investigation and diagnosis | Treatment | Coping with coccyx pain | Find a doctor or specialist

Medical papers | Personal experiences | Links to other sites | Support groups | Site map