Coccyx removal surgery after recent lumbar spinal fusion

Kirk in Maryland - KIRGAR@aol.com

Hi to everyone,

First let me give you a little insight into my situation. I also want to say how I personally feel for all of the people on here for the pain and agony that coccydynia brings. I have had two L4-L5 lumbar discectomies in 1998 and 2001. In 2003 my L4-L5 disc ruptured again. This time they went in and performed a L4-L5-S1 posterior lumbar fusion with pedicle screws and rods. I was so ecstatic over how the fusion turned out. It really felt great and the leg pain was gone.

After about 3 months I started to get pain in the coccyx area when I would sit for more then 15 minutes. Gradually over the next month and half the pain increased to the point where I could not sit at all and moving from a sitting to standing position was excruciating. It was almost as the harder the bone fusion in my back grew, the pain in the coccyx area became.

I am sort of lucky as I have a very knowledgeable and experienced spine surgeon here in the Washington / Baltimore area. He quickly diagnosed it as severe coccydynia. He started with X-rays and a MRI to rule out tumors and cancers. Both of these test were negative. He then proceeded with a series corticosteriod injections into the coccyx area. I must say that these shots did give short term relief (a few days) but were extremely painful to receive.

Like I previously mentioned, I have had previous spine surgeries and am experienced with pain, but these shots were very painful going in. He also started me on vioxx for inflammation which helped take the sharp biting pain away. After the 4th shot and 2 months, I was still unable to sit flat and the pain going from sitting to standing was extreme. He recommended a coccygectomy as my foremost option or to try and live with the pain. He stated that he performs this type of surgery about once a month. It is pretty simple as long as you stay in the coccyx plane and you really treat as if infection will come. Almost like being proactive to prevent any infection.

I started to read all of the horror stories on this site of pain and extended recoveries. I had the surgery one week ago (April 14, 2003). I must admit I was extremely nervous. I also was getting a bone stimulator implant removed from my previous spinal fusion at the same time.

The coccyx removal surgery went well. It ran about an hour. He said the area was really bad and the coccyx sacrum joint was gone or wore away. After the surgery, I rode home as a passenger sitting in the normal position. I asked him to numb it up extra good so I could endure the ride.

That night I felt nothing as I was taking percocet and the area was still numb. The next morning was different. I had moderate pain for most of the day. The percocet worked fine besides the groggy feeling. The second day was much better and by the third day I was taking regular Tylenol. I was walking fine and sitting for short periods (5 minutes) on a hard chair. I must say now that looking back, I must tolerate pain much better then most or I over-predicted how painful this surgery would be. I am one week out and I am up and walking around with incision soreness only, but the pain is pretty much gone and I can sit for short periods 10 minutes. It is like I have my life is back.

I truly feel for every one of you on here and if I could say anything for advice, it would be to not hesitate to get the surgery if you have an experienced surgeon, and the vioxx oral medication helped me immensely until the surgery date. The key I think is the surgeon's experience.

I hope that everything keeps progressing well on my end and good luck to everyone on here.

Kirk

Updated 2004-04-25

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