Redefining the coccygeal plexus

Clinical anatomy

27: 254260 (2014)

Woon JT, Stringer MD

Department of Anatomy, Otago School of Medical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Abstract

The coccygeal plexus is variably described in anatomy texts and has rarely been studied despite the idiopathic nature of coccydynia in up to one-third of affected patients. The plexus was therefore investigated using a combination of microdissection and histology. The distal sacrum and coccyx in continuity with ischiococcygeus were removed en bloc from 16 embalmed cadavers (mean age 78 +/- 10 years, 7 females) with no local disease. Ten specimens underwent microdissection of the coccygeal plexus and the remaining six were examined histologically after staining with hematoxylin and eosin and S100 immunohistochemistry to demonstrate nerve fibers.

The coccygeal plexus is formed within ischiococcygeus from the ventral rami of S4, S5, and Co1 with a contribution (gray rami communicantes) from the sacral sympathetic trunk. It gives rise to anococcygeal nerves which pierce ischiococcygeus and the sacrospinous ligament to supply the subcutaneous tissue on the dorsal aspect of the coccyx. Some branches from the plexus pass medially anterior to the coccyx. The coccycgeal plexus is formed within ischiococcygeus rather than on its pelvic surface and appears to supply skin in the anococcygeal region. It probably also contributes to the innervation of ischiococcygeus, the sacrospinous ligament, coccygeal ligaments, and periosteum. It deserves to be considered as a potential pain generator that may be implicated in some patients with coccydynia

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