Pioneering sacrococcygeal repair

Cathy, UK

Posted 2012-07-01

In July 2011 I fell and dislocated my sacrococcygeal joint. After six months of conservative treatment including an unsuccessful manipulation under anaesthetic, I was facing two options: To wait and manage the pain or have a coccygectomy. Having sustained various fractures, dislocations and injuries in my 50 years with little residual impact I knew my body better than any "expert" out there; I could feel this was never going to get better on its own and I wasn't prepared to endure the pain and limitations it imposed until the medical profession caught up with me. I wasn't ready to lose my coccyx either and so with the help of this site I found just two case studies reporting the successful reduction and fixation of similar dislocations, both surgeries were performed on the day the traumas occurred, one used a pin and the other tension bands: Dislocation of the coccyx: a case report (PDF) and Joystick reduction and percutaneous pinning for an acutely anteriorly dislocated coccyx: a case report. (the second also references the first).

I had also done my research on consultants and found a brilliant and innovative spinal surgeon in Mr Ian Shackleford (Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Spire Cheshire Hospital) (see Doctors and specialists in the UK, Cheshire). Far from dismissing me with the usual patronising rubbish about, "keeping off the internet" and the predictable, "be patient, coccyx injuries can take months or even years to heal", he actually listened, read the case studies and agreed to give the repair a try. As it was now nearly a year since my accident, he had the inspired idea of placing rods used for fusing fingers into the coccyx, in addition to the tension bands, to hold it place after surgery. The rods would gradually biodegrade and be reabsorbed within six months. On 14th June 2012 Mr Shackleford performed the surgery at Warrington and Halton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, he successfully reduced the dislocation and stabilised the reduction with three pins and three vinyl tension bands. At the follow-up appointment on 26th June the wound was healing well with no sign of infection. Although my bum is still sore from the surgery and I am unable to sit or really bend down yet, I am very optimistic; I have already lost some of the horrible full feeling in my rectum, the nagging pelvic pain has completely gone, and I am no longer waddling like a duck!

I am one of the lucky ones; without the wealth of information on this site combined with the unfaltering support of my family, an exceptional surgeon and (all too familiar to those who know me well) an impatient and implacable nature, I know I would not have got to this point so quickly. So, heartfelt thanks to all of them and to Jon for the amount of time and effort he puts in to maintaining this invaluable site. Although it is early days, I hope this procedure is a viable alternative to the conventional treatments available and will give some hope to others. I am happy to answer any questions through the email address above.

Wishing you all well soon


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