Caroline - Caroline.Bowers@henleymc.ac.uk
In 1997, I started having extreme pain when sitting down, particularly on something firm or hard. The pain was bad enough while sitting but the worst and most excruciating pain was when I went from sitting to standing. I had one cortisone injection in my consultant's treatment room (without anaesthetic) which was so painful that I cried all the way home. This worked brilliantly for about six months and I was able to do things like ride my horse again, without pain. But the pain gradually crept back as my consultant had told me that it would. Over a period of time, I then had five more injections but these were done under general anaesthetic and with a manipulation as well which enabled him to get the needle deep into the joint. Each one worked for less and less time - again as he told me it would. I asked him about removal and he said that he had done "one or two".
I did some research on the website and one day in August 2002, in desperation from the pain, I phoned Dr Jean-Yves Maigne in Paris (see Doctors and specialists in France). I spoke to him personally and he asked if I could go to Paris to see him. I did so a week or two later and the outcome was that, in early November, I had the coccyx removed by Professor Levon Doursounian, a colleague of Dr Maigne. I spent a week in hospital in Paris and then returned home by ambulance to recover. It was six weeks before I could sit down again and then only on a pre-war rubber ring which was invaluable in my recovery. After three months, I returned to work, using the ring only for sitting for a few weeks and I have never looked back. I can now ride my horse or sit down on anything for hours without any pain. The coccyx is in a small box in my bedside drawer and I am very happy to see it there and no longer attached to me.
I would be very happy to talk to anybody about my condition, the superb treatment that I received and my recovery. I was very lucky that my private health cover paid for the operation, the hospital and the ambulance. We never discovered what had caused the problem but the dynamic X-Rays taken by Dr Maigne showed a sub-luxation of the coccyx. I cannot thank Dr Maigne and Professor Doursounian enough for the most excellent response to my original contact; the diagnosis; the surgical skills; the post-operative care; and the perfect English that they both spoke! It is my belief that you probably need to choose a surgeon who has enough experience of this type of procedure, rather than one who maybe has only done 'one or two' or 'a few' procedures of this nature. I will never regret picking up the phone and dialling Dr Maigne's number in Paris.