Has anyone in Virginia had Dr. Cardea operate on them?

Carol - reisrn@hotmail.com

Posted 2008-10-19

I have had increasingly severe tailbone pain for 7 years. I have been through multiple specialists to include three pain management physicians. I had so many injections, rhizotomies, and even a ganglion impar procedure, none of which helped.

I have read through so many people's stories and seen the vast array of results obtained from having their coccyx removed. I too, am seriously considering having it done as well. I have been deemed a good candidate here in Richmond, Virginia by an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Cardea at Virginia Commonwealth University (see Doctors and specialists in the USA, Virginia). He says that I have arthritis between my sacrum and coccyx.

I am curious to know if anyone has had the same situation with the arthritis and also had their coccyx removed for it. Also, if anyone has had surgery done by Dr. Cardea, could you please give me some feedback on your experience? As one knows, I am very nervous about this and certainly don't want to be in worse pain after it is all said and done. I just feel that this is my only remaining chance for a better quality of life. I am 41 and have a six year old daughter that I want to be more active with. I would appreciate any and all feedback that anyone has.

Update, 2009-03-08

Hello. I wanted to update my last post with a summary of my surgery and recovery thus far. My coccygectomy was February 11 2009 at MCV in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. John Cardea was my surgeon. Everything went so smoothly the day of surgery and during my overnight stay. The anesthesiologist placed an epidural in for pain control for after the surgery. I would HIGHLY recommend that. It was wonderful. The surgery took about one hour. My tailbone was hypermobile, deviated to the right, had bone spurs and arthritis. I was immediately relieved to hear that, in the sense that I knew my pain would improve with all that going on pre-op. How could it not feel better to get rid of that? No wonder conservative measures did not work. The epidural was removed by the following morning at 6 am. They gave me oral pain medication to get a jump on that.

The next couple of days were rather painful at home. I could not get comfortable and my hips hurt from laying side to side all the time. The constant stool softeners did not help my bowels and in the first couple weeks I had to take a total of 8 laxatives to get things going. That added to the miserable feeling. I highly suggest a raised toilet seat, but I only needed to use it for a week and a half. I could ride as a passenger in the car sitting sideways. Pain after the first couple of days became more manageable. I found myself maybe doing too much in the second week. Now I am at the third week post-op and feeling a little more sluggish and my incision is burning more. I am not sure if this is expected or maybe I overdid.

I am verry happy that I had this surgery. No problems with wound healing or infection. I can already tell that the discomfort I have now is totally surgically related and feels like a deep bruise with the incision stinging. The pain I had pre-op is not there. So, essentially, I am looking forward to being totally pain free once I heal completely. If anyone has questions for me, feel free to e-mail me at reisrn@hotmail.com. I would be happy to answer anything I can.

Update, 2009-06-07

I am 16 weeks post-op now and wanted to share some tips I have learned along the way. I was feeling so great at about 8 weeks and made a Spring Trip visit to my parents house in Florida before heading back to work. I was still taking pain medication to tolerate the flight and certain activities. I rode on a golf cart the entire week and had a great time. I came back to "real life" and started back to work for 4 hours a day. I stand all day working as a nurse. It also entails a fair amount of bending, stooping and pulling. I thought this was a cinch and after 3 weeks of that went back full days. I think if I had stopped at that point I would have been ok.

My husband and I had decided in the meantime to put our house on the market. I am one that cannot sit still and brood about a to-do list in my head. So, I started going through closets and cupboards and purging a lot of household items and doing some serious cleaning. This was on top of working. Please don't make the mistake of overdoing in your activity. I paid dearly for it and continued this for several weeks. It was over Memorial Day weekend that I had a four day break with work and around the house. I had the best days ever after this. I have since learned that I cannot accomplish everything at once and to pace yourself.

Just because you start to feeling better, do not go overboard. It is true that it takes up to a year to heal fully from this.

I am still glad that I had this surgery and feel that it has helped me greatly.

Carol

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