Coccyx issue in Australia, help in France, removal in South Africa

Anonymous, South Africa, Australia -

Posted 2019-21-12

I am writing this story as I hope my experience will help others in the same way that others' experiences and this website have helped me!

I am a male in my mid 30s, athletic and generally fit, and have no history of coccyx issues, never fallen on it or had any traumatic impact on it.

My coccyx problems started in roughly November 2016 - there was no big pain at first. I was sitting at my desk writing and would feel a discomfort in my butt... something like having a pimple on your butt. I then went on holidays driving around Australia and when sitting and driving for hours felt the discomfort more regularly: as I said, there was no serious pain at first, but over the next two months the discomfort progressively turned into pain. The pain was bearable – I was still sitting on my butt normally at the time – but by February 2017 the pain had became too much to bear that I could not sit on my coccyx anymore. I could still sit, but not onto the coccyx.

Between Feb 2017 and Jan 2018 the pain was acute, pretty much a 10 out of 10 when I would sit on the affected area or press my finger into it. The affected area was on the posterior (outside) of the coccyx and located in a specific point, almost at the tip (but not exactly the tip) of the coccyx.

Over the months of March to October 2017 I did the following tests and treatments in Canberra, Australia:

As of October 2017 my coccyx became more painful and the pain spread back towards the spine, so that it was no longer only close to the tip of the coccyx. I started to feel this as I was jogging because for the first time since my coccyx pain started in late 2016 I began to feel discomfort while undertaking normal activities like running or walking - anything that would rub my butt cheeks against the coccyx.

That was, in short, the history of my idiopathic coccydynia. My local GP in Canberra diagnosed this as an 'idiopathic' coccydynia because all the tests came back negative and he had no idea what was wrong.

I then moved for work to South Africa, and realized that the only way to try and address this coccyx pain was to try and see Dr Maigne in Paris (see Doctors and specialists in France). BEST DECISION EVER MADE.

I came to see Dr Maigne in Jan 2018. I saw Dr Maigne at his clinic/office where we talked about my condition, he looked over the tests from Australia, and performed an anal examination of my coccyx...he thought the coccyx was not mobile, but rather rigid. The next day at the Hotel Dieu Hospital next to the Notre Dame, he did an Xray and gave me a steroid injection into the tip of the coccyx. The xray revealed that I had a rigid coccyx and it was inverse as well, meaning it did not really curve upwards as it is supposed to when I sit. Hence, it was slightly pressing into my skin which caused a bursitis to form on the spot where the bone was sticking into the skin, and the inflammation is what caused all that pain. Dr Maigne gave me the steroid injection right there on the xray table and after 10 mins I was able to sit on the coccyx with no pain. Diagnosis confirmed! And he told me if the pain came back within a few weeks there would be no point in another steroid injection, but if it stayed away for longer than 3 months, I could do it again. But he also said that given the mechanical nature of my pain, I was a good candidate for a coccygectomy (getting the coccyx removed - a part of it anyway). I could not thank him enough and wanted to kiss the man!!

The best thing of it all? It cost me 500 Euro for the consultation and xray and steroid injection! I spent close to 5000 Australian dollars on all the meaningless tests in Canberra!!!

So if you don't know what is wrong with you, have the money and can go to France - do it! Dr Maigne is the man who writes articles on coccyx pain... see Dr Maigne if you can, especially if you are based in Europe. I am sure he is not perfect, and I have read on this website of one lady's experience where he could not help her. But, Dr Maigne saw in my xray what 3 different radiologists in Australia and South Africa still CANNOT!!!

I have to pause here and say that I cannot express in words how good it felt to finally have a diagnosis!!! I was the happiest person on this planet in that moment! It was such a simple thing but the ineptitude and incompetence of my Australian radiologist basically made my life worse than it had to be.

My caution to Australians from Canberra reading this. My Xray was done at Universal Medical Imaging, avoid this place if you have coccyx issues. Like most places in the world, they have no idea how to do sitting xrays and that you even have to do one for coccyx pain! The radiologist there is Dr Mahajan, if I am correct. He has no idea about coccyx issue and read my xray wrongly many times...he is also the one who gave me two impar ganglion blocks and then another block into the sacroiliac join....I am sure he hit the right spots with the injections, but as Dr Maigne told me, the pain was never in the spots they targeted. All it would have taken Dr Mahajan to get it right was to just ask, where is your pain??, and then stick a steroid filled needle into that spot! I am not saying Universal Medial Imaging is worse than other places....from what I have read online, very few places know how to do proper xrays for coccyx issues, and even worse, most radiologists don't know how to see issues with the coccyx. Which is why you need to see someone who has experience dealing with coccyx issues. By the way, the radiologists here in South Africa also have no idea about coccyx issues, so as I did another xray here, they read the imaging as completely normal... when I talked to my surgeon about it, he said 90% of the time he has to return his coccyx patients to the radiologists for more xray imaging in the very hospital he works, because they keep missing coccyx issues.

Anyway, I decided to do a cocyxgectomy in South Africa. I am based in Pretoria and found a surgeon here with experience in coccyxgectomies. He is Dr Ian Zondagh, at the Life Groenkloof Hospital (see Doctors and specialists in South Africa). His office admin staff are pretty slow and can be disorganized, but he himself is a great guy, very good at explaining things to you in details, and he is experienced!! This is very important as he told me, coccyxgectomies are very simple procedures, but for the healing and post-surgery to go OK, the surgeons need to understand what caused the coccyx pain in the first place. That helps with recovery and hopefully not having recurrent problems.

I waited to write this post for 12 months so that I could let you know how I was feeling after the surgery, and if I would get any pain back. My coccygectomy was in Oct 2018, and now, in Dec 2019, I am essentially 100%. In the first 6-8 month I still 'felt' my coccyx when I sat down, but as Dr Zondagh told me, that was the scar tissue pain - it can sometimes happen that things heal in a way that you replace coccyx pain with scar tissue pain. But that DID NOT happen for me.

Dr Zondagh cut out about 1 cm - the tip of my coccyx - out. My post-op was good, I did not sit for a whole month, and then slowly got into sitting for short periods of time. He also used PRENEO to basically seal my scar, which I think has better results for ensuring you do not get an infection post-op. Infections can be common given that the operation spot is so close to the anus, but PRENEO felt really tight, like you didn't have an operation at all....and then I simply washed it away as it started coming off by about 10 days after the operation. Also, because of the serious pain killers I was on in the first week post op, I was constipated, so didn't go to the toilet much. This also helped avoid infection:)

I am now back to life without coccyx pain!!! The quality of my life has improved 300%, and I am quite happy. I was also lucky that I could pay for my procedures, and it was the BEST money I have spent EVER! I hope these insights can help someone, especially based in South Africa or Australia.

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