British Medical Journal
1868, May 02, p 424
In the year 1859, I (Der Hirnanhang und die Steissdrusse des Menschen, Virchow's Archiv f. Patholog. Anatom. und Phys., 1860, v. xviii) discovered a small glandular organ, to which I gave the above name, on account of its local relations. It is generally only of the size of a hempseed, and constitutes either a single compact round body, or consists of several loosely connected portions. The organ is situated on the anterior circumference of the end of the coccygeal bone, connected with filaments from the ganglion impar of the sympathetic nerve, and with small branches of the arteria sacralis média, between the levator ani and the posterior end of the sphincter ani externus. The substance of the gland, when fresh, has a pale red colour, and a considerable degree of elasticity, so that the whole, as well as parts of it, easily slip between the plates of glass, and resist considerably the attempt to tear them asunder by needles.
As to the structure of the gland, there are to be distinguished-I. The stroma, consisting of a tough fibrous connective tissue, free of elastic elements, interspersed with numerous oval granules; 2. The glandular cavities or follicles (" Hohlgebilde"), the walls of which are formed by connective tissue containing many oblong granules not affected by acetic acid. These cavities are of different forms, sometimes representing long regular canals, occasionally with branches; sometimes round or oval bodies. Their contents are chiefly cells, round or polygonal, always with a distinct nucleus, which is surrounded by a delicate granular membrane. Along the axis, as Sartoli has proved, usually is found a small almost capillary blood-vessel, imbedded in the cell-tissue, but distinctly separated from it. By careless artificial injection, the interglandular blood-vessels are easily torn ; the injected fluid mixes with the cellular tissue, and fills the cavities in such a manner as to mislead to the view that they are conglomerates of blood-vessels.
The gland is rich in nerves derived from the terminal branches of the sympathetic nerve. They form microscopic networks perforating the stroma, and are occasionally seen connected with ganglion-cells ; the existence of the latter has been lately confirmed by A. Macalister. (On the Anatomy and Physiology of the Coccygeal Gland, british medical journal, 1868, No. 367).
Although the function of this organ is at present unknown, it is already of great interest to pathology, because it is not only the seat of the so-called " coccygodynia", but also of the hygromata cystica perinealia.