Tailbone (Coccyx) Pain Coccyxectomy surgery

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Coccyxectomy Surgery as a Treatment for Coccyx Pain

In a coccygectomy surgery as a treatment for coccyx pain, the coccyx or a portion of the coccyx is removed. This procedure is only performed in the most extreme cases and when conservative treatments have not resulted in enough pain relief that everyday living is impacted.

Coccyx Pain Treatments –Coccyxectomy Surgery

Coccygectomy surgery is typically the final step in the treatment of coccyx pain when all other available treatment methods have failed to provide adequate pain relief. The coccyx, also known as the tailbone, consists of 3-5 separate bones all fused to the sacrum by a vestigial disc and ligaments. There is limited movement in this area of the spine so most damage received comes from traumatic accidents or hard falls.

Is Coccyxectomy Surgery the Right Coccyx Pain Treatment for You?

The coccyx consists of three or more bones fused to the sacrum by a vestigial disc and ligaments. It has limited movement so most damage occurs from accidents or falling on the tailbone. Women tend to have a higher incidence of tailbone pain, also known as coccydynia, due to an anatomical rotation in the coccyx and a wider pelvis. Childbirth can widen that pelvic space even further which can also contribute to coccyx pain symptoms.

After an accident or fall, most coccyx injuries will heal on their own. Unfortunately, due to the placement of the coccyx, healing tends to be very slow. If the pain is bothersome, a physician may advise over-the-counter medications like an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) to help with inflammation and discomfort. Stronger medicine may also be prescribed if the coccyx pain is severe and not otherwise relieved by over-the-counter methods. Medicated injections and physical therapy may also help to relieve coccyx pain.

Coccyx treatment is usually supportive with medications, but extreme cases may result in a coccygectomy, which is the removal of the base of the spine in order to relieve severe and persistent pain.

Coccygectomy as a treatment for coccyx pain is rare. The recovery is considered long and tedious due to aggravation placed on the area from the natural need to sit.

Coccyxectomy is performed by making a 1” to 2” incision above the tailbone and removing the tissue (periosteum) covering the bone. There are no muscles in this area. The coccyx is then from the sacrum and removed. The procedure lasts about 30 minutes and is typically performed in an outpatient facility.

Patients can expect healing to take place between three months to one year due to difficulty avoiding certain activities that will aggravate the area. Activities like sitting for long periods of time, straining during bowel movements, and sexual intercourse may lengthen the recovery period as well.

Like all surgical procedures, there are risks associated with coccyxectomy as a coccyx pain treatment including infection at the wound site and pain that may not completely resolve. However, for some patients who are suffering through the painful effects of a condition affecting the coccyx, those risks must be weighed against the potential pain relief benefits. A knowledgeable and experienced spine surgery expert can help you decide whether coccyxectomy is the right coccyx pain treatment for you.

At-a-Glance: Coccyxectomy Surgery as a Treatment for Coccyx Pain

  • Can take three months up to one year to heal after coccyxectomy surgery as a treatment for coccyx pain
  • In some patients who undergo coccyxectomy, the pain is not always completely resolved
  • All or a portion of the coccyx is removed during coccyxectomy surgery
  • Coccyxectomy is performed as a coccyx pain treatment in rare cases and only when other treatment options have been attempted first.

Health Tips For Coccyx Pain

  • Take an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) if authorized by your spine health expert
  • Use ice packs for 10 to 15 minutes several times per day for the first few days after surgery
  • Use a doughnut pillow to relieve pressure on the tailbone
  • Drink plenty of water and take a stool softener to assist with  relief of bowel movement straining

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