Coccygectomy after spinal fusion

Allyson - allysonandsimonoconnell@hotmail.com

Posted 2011-04-17

Dear Friends,

My name is Allyson, I am a 34 year woman in Brisbane Australia. I had my coccygectomy on the 15th March 2011 and I would really like to share my story with you in the hope that it might help someone else with this problem.

I had had back problems for three years and had a spinal fusion of L3-L4 on the 18th November 2010, 15 weeks before my coccygectomy. I had no idea the pain I had had was related to my coccyx, I first noticed it after a drive out of town and thought it was just from sitting after the spinal fusion. I thought no more of it then the pain began to get worse after about a week and I was really distressed. I saw my local hospital emergency department and they gave me narcotics and asked me to see my neurosurgeon again with an MRI & a bone scan. I saw him and he said I had a problem with my coccyx. He said he would try cortisone first and then if it failed I would need a coccygectomy. He then told me what a coccygectomy entailed and I almost fainted. I am a Registered Nurse and I had never ever heard of this operation until he said it. He also told me that I would be the second person he had ever done a coccygectomy on and the two main things I needed to be aware of was a massive risk of infection and the pain.

I came home from his appointment and took some Serepax. I was already on massive doses of narcotics to deal with the back surgery and I just did not know what to do. I called my friends who are all nurses and talked with them. I also saw my local GP who said there was nothing wrong with me and to try physio instead and that a coccygectomy was just too radical an operation to be done. I consulted my husbands doctor and he told me that a coccygectomy was possible however there wasn't a great success rate. By this time I was really sick with the pain, my groins were really inflamed from guarding my coccyx and as I couldn't take anti-inflammatories I was really screwed. I did have the cortisone injection and things just got worse from there.

I consulted this website and read the stories of the people who had been through this procedure. Two days after the cortisone I went into hospital for pain management then had my coccygectomy under Dr Michael Bryant, a neurosurgeon in Brisbane at BrizBrain & Spine (see Doctors and specialists in Australia). I really needed a lot of drugs to manage my pain and then went home three days after. I also fortunately have a pain consultant who admitted me again fourteen days after the coccygectomy for pain management and now I type this to you sitting on my cushion reasonably pain free. I don't expect this pain to go for a while yet and I have just finished another course of antibiotics as a little area of my wound wasn't healing very well.

I am now probably better than I have ever been in my life, yes I was a really high risk candidate for this procedure as my spinal fusion had only really just happened and I was on massive doses of narcotics before the coccygectomy but I really think my back never got better as my coccyx was playing up in the background. Such a little bone and such massive massive pain. I would really like to thank Dr Bryant, he has never given up on me and has taken me on where other neurosurgeons haven't dared to tread but he did and you would never never know that I had had two surgeries so close to each other. Also thank you to this website for giving me this information as it was a godsend in my time of need and that is why I really wanted to submit my story to help someone else who may read my story and think yes this may work for me too.

With Thanks Allyson

Posted 2011-07-24

Hi Friends,

I would like to give you my update after my surgery on the 15th March 2011. I had my procedure after a big spinal fusion. Initially it was last resort surgery but now I can unreservedly say this surgery saved my sanity and the sanity of my husband.

My surgery was 16 weeks ago and I am fully functional, back working full time and can sit for the most part with no problems. I do have difficulty sitting in the car but I think that it is the position I need to sit in for going in the car. The pain I have now is due to sitting on the scar and some days the pain is worse than others but of course that's life and I need to roll with the good and bad. I still take a moderate dose narcotic to manage the chronic pain in my spine due to titanium rods, screws and an artificial graft.

I even went to the movies and sat through a session without difficulty, just clever management! I still use my cushion to sit and now if I don't use it I notice, not because of the pain but I am not used to sitting so low in the driver's seat, I am used to being perched higher in the seat so I continually have to adjust the mirrors!

The other great part of being part of this website is that I have talked with and met some wonderful women on this site. I get emails regularly from others suffering from this problem and I am able to use my experience to help others and they help me. I even have a lovely new friend with whom I not only share this problem but a really nice friendship too.

Thanks Jon for this site and again thanks to Dr Bryant my neurosurgeon and my pain consultant Dr Christian Rowan who have been nothing short of exceptional.

Regards Allyson.

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