Mary-Anne - MIMIAC55@aol.com
Jon- I had surgery on February 23, 2000, just 3 short days ago! I am SITTING here now albeit a little uncomfortably, writing to you.
I have such empathy for all the people out there who have yet to find relief from their coccyx pain. I, too, suffered for a long time. However, it had only become intolerable over the past six months. That is when I first decided to see an orthopaedic spine specialist (Sept 1999). I had tried numerous anti-inflammatories with no relief. I ended up on vicodin which did relieve the pain, but I had decided I was not going to take narcotics on a long-term basis. When my doctor first suggested surgery (in early Jan 2000), I was hesitant as I would be about any surgery. When I finally decided to have the procedure which was scheduled for Feb 23, 2000, I began intense research on the subject. I had two months to read anything and everything I could lay my hands on! At any rate, when I discovered your site it was like a God-send! It is very informative! My only suggestion, which you have already begun to address, is to print more success stories. I feel that I am a success story! That is precisely why I'm writing!
I live in New Haven County in Connecticut. I had the surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital. The doctor did admit it is a rare procedure, but felt confident that it was the solution to my problem. I tend to be a bit of a wimp so my greatest hardship was the pre-op meds/anesthesia and immediate post-op discomforts (urinary catheter, IV and pain pump). I was only in the hospital overnight. I'm not exactly sure how long I will be out of work, but I'm anticipating at least a month as my job involves sitting all day. (I'm a nurse at an HMO).
To those of you who are contemplating surgery, I would first advise you to find a doctor you trust. Then get a second opinion (which I did) and then be confident that this is the right decision for you. I had my parents and co-workers opinions to contend with and I'm 44 years old!! They accessed the internet and read nothing or very little that was encouraging! They were strongly opposed to my decision to have the surgery. But because I felt well-informed and trusted my doctor, I did go through with it.
That is why, Jon, I am most concerned with more positive responses being printed. I know you can only print what is submitted to you, so I am pleading with anyone who does have the procedure and has good success, as I have had so far, to please share your experience as it helps to make the information more balanced therefore making the decision easier one way or the other. If anyone has any additional questions I can be reached at MIMIAC55@aol.com. I hope I've helped at least one person make a decision today.
The surgeon's name is Kenneth Kramer, M.D. He has numerous satellite offices here in Southern Connecticut. I also saw Dr Tushar Patel for my second opinion. He is located at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven. Both of these doctors are familiar with the procedure, but as you know most doctors have not performed that many actual coccygectomies as it is a rare procedure. Many surgeons are hesitant to perform it at all, so I was very grateful to find one who advised me that it was potentially curative for my particular symptoms! He did say, though, that not all people are candidates for this surgery.
Update, 2000-03-10 - post-coccygectomy success story (2 weeks post-op)
It is now 16 days since I had the surgery. I feel as if I'm recovering amazingly fast. Although I'm still having trouble sitting for extended periods of time, I otherwise feel great! Some days are more difficult than others--but it is only just over two weeks since I had the surgery. I continue to be glad that I made the decision to have my coccyx removed. I do use my pillow with the cut-out for the tailbone when sitting which helps a lot. I hope that anyone else who decides to have the procedure has as good an experience as I have had thus far. I will probably remain out of work for another 3-4 weeks. but we'll see how it goes. My job involves sitting all day, so I do not want to rush it. I'll check-in occasionally to give status reports on my recovery so that others can see that this procedure can work!!
It has just dawned on me, from re-reading your message board and from the e-mails I have received from other surgery patients--that the speed with which I feel I am recovering and the rapid decrease in pain at the site-is directly related to how my wound was closed. That is to say--my doctor used steri-strips to close my incision. Everyone else I've heard from, appears to have gotten stitches!! So, as you and they have probably already figured out- sutures hurt when they are healing. They tend to tug at the skin and tighten as they heal. That does cause additional pain. I don't know if it's because my surgeon is more familiar with the procedure or if maybe those other patients had a more involved surgical excision of their coccyx. But I thought it may be of interest to you all. I guess that could be another question to ask your doctor before surgery.
Update, 2000-04-08 - 6 weeks after surgery
It is now six weeks since I had my coccyx removed. My recovery has continued to be uneventful and, I think, rather quick! I am putting off going back to work for the simple fact that it involves sitting for 8 hours and my tailbone area is still not ready for extended sitting. I can sit for up to 3 hours without much difficulty. The car does cause me more pain just because of the position of the seat so I keep my driving to a minimum. I had no post-op infection. The site was healed in less than 10 days. The internal healing continues, but I remain optimistic. I just wanted to let your other readers who are contemplating surgery see that it can be the solution to their long-term suffering. If anyone wishes to contact me with questions or comments I'm at MIMIAC55@aol.com. Thank-you.
Update, 2002-02-17 - Reply to an email from Shane
All I can say is--my pain is 90% less today than it was 2 yrs ago! I remain glad that I had the surgery in spite of the fact there was so little info about it. I can't think of anything for you to ask your MD about. If you trust him/her you should be all set. Good luck.
It has been 10+ years since I had my tailbone removed. It was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I have NO pain at all anymore. I can sit for hours with not even a twinge of discomfort in that area. It is such a blessing! I've been taking my comfort for granted. However, I was reminded how fortunate I am when I started to receive e-mails from other folks on this site who are still suffering. I would imagine (and hope) that more doctors are familiar with the procedure by now.
All I can say is do your research, find a doctor experienced with doing coccygectomies, trust him/her and GO FOR IT!!!! But keep in mind, not everyone is a candidate for this procedure. There are different types of injuries/defects/anatomic differences and not all will benefit. That is why it is important to educate yourself and trust your doctor. You can always go for a second opinion, too.
If you are unable to have the procedure or don't obtain relief after having it done-look into pain management with a qualified medical professional. There are numerous options out there other than narcotics which cause problems in and of themselves... not the least of which is constipation, which is the last thing you want to deal with when you have tailbone pain!
I wish you all well.