Coccygectomy after a fall and pain

Lou, The Bahamas

Posted 2014-10-05

I am a 31 year old male from the Bahamas. I developed coccydenia about 2 years ago.

2012 – February of that year, I took a trip to Newport News, Virginia. This was a business trip, however, I decided to stray away and go drinking one night with some co-workers who travelled with me. While in a pub having a swill, it snowed out. Now, it being my first time in the snow, I didn't know how it was. When we got back to the hotel I stepped out of the car and slipped down flat on my bum. We were all drunk so we laughed it off as there was nothing to be alarmed about……… I thought.

September of that same year, I began to feel some discomfort while sitting. It was nothing bad, on the pain scale from 1 – 10, 10 being the greatest, the pain was a 1. I was full time in the gym at this stage so I figured it to be pain from working out. You know, no pain no gain. So I just kept on doing my normal everyday activities.



Went to the beach with my daughter. We were playing in the sand and she decided to go swimming, so I went in with her. After swimming about 200 feet, I had a very sharp pain in my lower back. Thinking that I had pulled a muscle or something, I came out of the water and proceeded to play beach volley ball. Everything was seemingly fine until I made a dive to save a ball and that's when the pain hit me. It was a sharp annoying pressure filled pain. After that, we packed up and headed to the car. When I sat down in the car the pain was so intense, I figured I really sprained something bad. I stayed home for the next 3 days in bed hoping that this would help soothe my pains.

I went to work that Thursday for the first time that week. Sitting in my chair at my desk was a task in itself. I was so sore along with being in pain. I figured it was just from the attempted swim earlier that week. For weeks I had this pain that went up to about a 3 on a constant basis. It would get really bad when I went to the gym and did my usual 200 lb. squats. For another 7 months, I procrastinated on checking it out because it was really not that bad and I just chalked it up to being gym pains.


My fiancée and I took a trip to see her brother in school to Wichita Kansas. We left from Nassau headed to Atlanta to catch a connecting flight to Wichita. This was the worst 2.5 hrs. of my life. 35 mins into the flight my pain flared up like a monster. It went from the usual 3 up to about a 7 in no time. It was so unbearable. My fiancé had some Tylenol 500 mg in her bag and I ate two of them like they were chewable. By the time we got to Atlanta, I was golden. Our layover was 3 hrs. in Atl then a quick 2 hr dash to Wichita. Needless to say, I was in pain the entire time we were there. The flight back was even worse. Once we got back home, my fiancé told me to go to the doctor the very next day. So I visited my GP (Dr. Christine Chin) the very next day and she sent me to 4th Terrace Diagnostic Center in Nassau to do an x-ray. I did so and revisited the very next day. She informed me that I had a broken coccyx, however it seemed to be healing, according to what she saw on the x-ray results. She prescribed me Voltaren 50 mg every 12 hours to help with the pain. I also got an injection to help immediately with my pain. I was set to do a follow-up in January of the next year with her.



I revisited my GP again however I did another x-ray before going. When I got to her, I informed her that the pain was no less than it was when I saw her last and that the Voltaren was not helping to keep the pain at bay. Dr.Chin informed me that my coccyx was turned in the wrong direction from what she saw on the results. Doc then told me that she wants me to see an orthopedic doctor to further address this problem. Like most guys, I figured I would be able to deal with this myself and just manage the pain.


During one day within the second week of the month, my fiancé and I were having intercourse when suddenly a pain about 10 on my threshold scale hit me hard. She had enough of this pain, as it obviously interfered with her getting "hers". My mom is a nurse of 35 years, so I asked her who should I see and she recommended Dr. Robert Gibson (see Doctors and specialists in the Bahamas). I called and made an appointment to see him. 8 days later I went to Dr. Gibson's office and took my previous x-ray scans with me. I also did a third one the day before I went to see him. After he reviewed my scans, he told me that my tail bone was broken and not in the right position to heal then he gave me three options.

a. Continue on with it as is, hope for it to somehow heal and manage pain with meds

b. See an anesthesiologist and have steroid injections at the site of the pain and manage it like this.

c. Remove the broken tail bone with a coccygectomy.

My fiancé didn't even give me a chance, when I told her the options, she told me option C was the way to go. I was a bit hesitant, as I am not a fan of surgeries however, I did opt for the surgery. I told the office administrator to set it up for the earliest date and let me know. My procedure was set for April 15. This time came and passed me by like the breeze. I honestly was afraid to have it done so I didn't even check for it.


Dealing with the pain in a moderate fashion, I went by my fiancée one evening and sat down talking to her mom and dad for about 4 hours. When it was time to leave, I think this was the most painful and embarrassing moment I had. I was unable to get up from the chair I was sitting in. My lady had to pull me up from the chair and once standing, the pain was overwhelming. Needless to say, she was upset with me for not following through with the procedure. The next day, she made a call herself to Dr. Roberts' office to begin the process of having the procedure done. I followed up the next day with the office and we set the procedure date for September 16, 2014.


I visited Dr. Roberts' office on the 9th where they informed me of some things that would have needed to be done including registering at the hospital and seeing the anesthesiologist. On the 11th, I visited Doctors Hospital here in Nassau and registered myself for the procedure. I also did a chest x-ray, blood work and an EKG while there. I must say that the entire time the staff there was nice and very helpful. On the 12th, I visited Anesthesiologist Associates here in Nassau where I saw Dr. Singh who informed me in full detail what exactly would happen before and after the procedure. This was a very interesting visit as I was asked some real in depth and personal questions. Never knew it was like this. I was told not to eat or drink anything from 10 pm the night before the procedure. On the 15th, I went to work as usual, but I got off early to make sure everything was in place for the next day.

Day of procedure

My scheduled time was 2 pm. I rested most of the morning and headed to hospital about 12:30 pm. Once there, my check in was less than 10 mins. The staff there, I can't help but to say, they were awesome. I was taken in back at about 3:15 pm to do my procedure. Did the usual, change in those reveling gowns and wear a hair net as though I was in a kitchen. The one issue was my blood pressure… was put abnormally high. They quickly put me in a bed to relax to bring my BP to normal rate. Dr. Gibson came to check on me about 4:15 pm and asked me "big man, why are you afraid?" He then asked the nurse to give me two pills to help me calm down. Not sure what they were but I took them and just relaxed for another hour. Once calm and my BP verified that, they rolled me on down to the operating room. Being my first time under the knife, I was more interested that afraid at this stage. I was prepped by some beautiful ladies and Dr. Barrett McCartney was there with me from I got to the hospital. Very nice man and he made it quite easy to trust him as he was very informative and laughed a lot to help take the edge off. Pulse oximeter was placed on, chest leads and then they brought the mask. I was told to breathe in deep. I stopped them to get a word of prayer in and then it was the mask. When the gas was released, it smelled like paint. No, I didn't count down from 10 to 1. I did crack a joke with them telling everyone, "I don't want anyone looking at my ass now". I took 3 deep breaths then everything got extremely loud and that's all I remember.

At about 7:30 pm I was awake and by 8:45 I was being checked out of the hospital. First night home was a doozie, all I did was sleep.

My first few days were very painful. I was prescribed Tramacet along with Cyclobenzaprine. The pain was intense and felt like a great pressure in my lower back. My first follow up visit was 5 days later. The pain killers were not working for me so doc switched me over to Ponstat. After another 4 days seeing that medicine did not work, I was prescribed Paracetamol with Codeine. That worked fine and I'm now on my 4th day on those meds.

Today is September 29, 2014 and this would now be my 13th day post-surgery. Today I got my staples removed. I feel great as they were very tight. I am able to walk normally, I am able to sit down on my cushion for extended periods. I have tried it without my pillow and it's definitely still sore but manageable. No sexual activity is expected for another 3 weeks or so……going to be a challenge. While on the Paracetamol with codeine, I am able to lay down in peace, but I have real horrible horrific dreams at nights on this stuff. Also, you must eat properly when taking this stuff. Still can't get it wet yet but taking kiddie baths. Oh, and stool softeners are a must as this meds will make you constipated a bit. I am taking it slowly, one day at a time and not letting the fact that pain is at a minimum fool me.

Great readings here and its quite interesting to see how other people have fared. Feel free to send emails if you have any questions.

Updates to follow………….

Note from Jon Miles:

I emailed more than a year after this story was posted, to ask for an update, as the long-term outcome of treatment is of great interest. In this case I did not get a reply.

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