Should I go for the coccygectomy?

Selena - kel7577@gmail.com

Posted 2009-12-06

On November 14, 2009 I went to walk down the steps. I have three rambunctious dogs and they took my legs out from under me. I fell directly on my tailbone and then slid down the rest of the steps. I thought I had bruised myself pretty badly, so I took Tylenol for pain and went about my days.

Finally after two weeks of no relief I went to the ER to get x-rayed. I was diagnosed as having a fractured coccyx as mine does not curve into a C, but points backwards towards my buttocks. They gave me Toradol for pain and instructed me to get a tush cushion. I also made an appointment with Dr. Cairone, an orthopod in PA. He saw me as an emergency patient on Friday, December 4th. He came in and told me that his opinion is that I definitely fractured my coccyx. He said that we could wait and see if it heals on its own and feels better or we could do a coccygectomy. I scheduled the surgery for December 22.

However I am a little apprehensive. I read almost every story on the coccyx.org site, and I am afraid that if I don't do this now I will have to do it eventually anyway. I just want to feel normal again and not be in constant pain. I don't want to have to go through the shots, just to have it not work and have to have surgery anyway. So I guess my question is should I go for the surgery and be done with it? I am going to call him on Monday as after reading this site I have a list of questions. Has anyone else seen this doctor OR can anyone recommend someone in PA? I'm also attaching a picture of my X-ray for your viewing pleasure:).

Warm regards from my tush to yours:)

Selena

coccyx x-ray

Update, 2009-12-13

Just wanted to update all of you about where I am. I called two of the major teaching hospitals in Philadelphia and what a run around I got! I was told multiple times that I could not see an orthopaedist because they don't treat coccyx fractures. The receptionist for the Rothman Institute at Jefferson Hospital told me that she broke her coccyx ten years ago and that they couldn't do anything for me and that she had never heard of a coccygectomy, so NO, I could not see an orthopaedist. Finally after using some family connections, I got an appointment with the University of PA Hospital for today.

The doctor that I saw was Dr. Gentchos. He said that he would not have surgery. He also told me that I may never heal and that he couldn't tell me when I wouldn't be in pain. Feeling very defeated, I called my family doctor for her opinion. She said that it is my decision and if the pain doesn't seem to be getting any better since the accident then it is worth it to have the surgery.

At this point I am very much leaning towards the surgery. The coccyx pain is still very much evident and now I have the added bonus of additional pains and aches in my groin, hips and low back from sitting/walking funny to compensate for the pain in my coccyx area. I am a second grade teacher and am on my feet most of the day (Thank Goodness!). By the time I get home I am so wiped out by the pain that I need to lay down and "get off my butt" for awhile.

This whole experience has been so frustrating. This is very real pain and docs at the supposed "best" hospitals dismiss it like it's nothing. Thank you all for being there for me. I don't know what I would do without you.

I contacted the first ortho I saw with a list of questions and his assistant got back to me today. Dr. Cairone has performed ten successful coccygectomies, and they are looking into having some former patients of his contact me with their experiences.

I will continue to keep you updated. At this point it looks like it's surgery on the 22nd and I can't wait to start recovering/healing/feeling like a normal 32 year old woman again!

Thank you to all who have contacted me with your stories. Being able to relate to other people's pain has really helped me:)

Warm regards,

Selena

Update, 2010-01-03

I woke up in the recovery room, laying on my side...thank goodness! They had me propped with a pillow at my back and an ice pack on my tush. My doctor told me that my coccyx was not only cracked backwards but that it was fractured in three places and I had two fragments. He said IF it would have healed on its own it would have taken about 7 months. I sat on the car ride home and have been able to sit for bits at a time since the day of surgery. Due to the anesthesia I was feeling no pain, but what a remarkable feeling to NOT have pain! I am overjoyed that I had the surgery. I came home, and like others have shared there are two things which helped a lot...the raised toilet seat and stool softeners. I had my surgery right before the holidays and was still able to visit with family during my recovery (I brought my trusty doughnut cushion and toilet seat with me!). I have made amazing progress over the past ten days. My husband and I even went out for New Year's Eve last night!

I think having my surgery near the holidays actually helped me because it forced me to get up and move around for bits at a time every day. I stopped using round the clock pain killers on day 5 and at day 7 stopped using them at night. I now just take Tylenol if I need it, usually after prolonged sitting. On day 5 I was able to take the dreaded poo, but having taken the stool softeners and having my trusty toilet seat made it a breeze. On day 8 I had my stitches removed and the doc says I look great! He gave me a strong antibiotic for 2.5 days after surgery to prevent infection, and I have had no problems in that area. This might also be due to the fact that I invested in baby wipes and kept the area very clean after going to the bathroom.

There are some horror stories on here about coccygectomy, so I just wanted to post my very positive experience. My surgeon was amazing! So if there is anyone in PA or the surrounding area looking for a surgeon, I will be happy to give you his information. I am going back to work 13 days after surgery and I cannot wait. I have had no bruising whatsoever. It's still a little tender when I sit or roll over in bed, but I am very grateful that I am officially on the mend:). Oh one more thing...I think the worst thing about my surgery is that I found EVERYTHING hysterically funny and I didn't realize how much I use my butt muscles to laugh. So I would have to hold my butt cheeks together as tears of laughter fell down my face, which would only make me (and the people around me) laugh harder.

I cannot thank everyone on here enough. Your tips made my recovery a completely smooth and actually enjoyable experience. I am more than willing to speak with anyone about my surgery/recovery.

Thanks so much!

Here's to a happy, healthy new year!

Selena

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