Tailbone removed

Beth - bbanks@lenawee.org

Posted 2013-06-30

Over the past four years I have had coccyx pain. At first, I thought it would just go away, but it didn't. I started having trouble sitting for any length of time travelling was difficult and so were meetings. I tried the coccyx special pillows and they helped some. I talked to my family doctor and he gave me an exam and realized it was very painful but didn't have an answer for me. He referred me to an orthopedic doctor.

The orthopedic doctor ordered x rays but nothing showed up abnormal. The orthopedic Dr. referred me to a pain specialist. During this time I also saw a chiropractor to see if that would help. The pain specialist ordered a CT and an MRI scan but it they did not show any reason for the pain. He started me on injections of cortisone shots. My first set of injections were spread over three months and they gave me relief for seven months but the pain started to return. I continued with cortisone/steroid shots at about every three months. Sometimes I would have a little relief, but they seemed to become less and less helpful.

The pain specialist had me do physical therapy, which I did two different times for a time of six weeks each. He also had me on anti-inflammatories and pain medicine. I also tried a Tens unit that emits a type of electrical stimulus. Nothing helped.

A year ago the pain specialist suggested I speak to a surgeon. I met with Dr Mark Falahee with the Brian and Spine unit at St Joseph hospital in Ann Arbor, MI (see Doctors and specialists in the USA, Michigan). He explained the surgery and the risks and it scared me off. After another year of pain and no answers I met again with Dr. Falahee in March of 2013 and scheduled the surgery for June 12th. I was scared to death as I had done a lot of research with many negative comments.

The staff at St Joe were wonderful. I was treated very well. I can't say enough for their quality of care. I didn't even have to feel the initial IV as they gave a teeny shot to numb the area. It was just a prick. The anesthesiologist came in and talked to me and I told him I get pretty sick from it and get car sick easily. He said we will take care of that and he put a patch behind my ear. The whole surgery time was about an hour. I went to recovery and woke up to them telling me to take deep breaths. I had compressing things on my legs that squeezed my legs every few minutes but they felt good. They asked my pain level and it was about a 4 and I had a headache. The said no problem we can help with that and they did. I was surprised to find I had a catheter I didn't realize I would have one. The recovery nurses kept talking to me and asking me questions. Everything went smoothly. I did have an ice pack on my tailbone area. Soon the nurses took out the catheter and removed the leg compressors, and my I V. They had me sit up and told me I was doing so well I could go home. My husband had put a mattress in the back of our van, so I crawled in and came home. I followed their post op guidelines very carefully. My daughter is an orthopedic physician assistant in GA and she had flown up to MI to be with us.

The Dr. told my husband that when he got to the tailbone he could move it easily with finger, it is not supposed to do that. He removed about an inch of the tailbone.

I just had my two week check up and it was a positive report as the incision is closed and healing nicely. I go back in four weeks and they will take a follow up x ray.

I do have discomfort in the tailbone area yet, but I did have a bone removed. I can now sit on a hard chair for several hours if I need to as I can position myself on my upper legs or sit to one side. We had friends over to play cards last night. I cannot ride sitting on the soft seats of the car or sit on a soft seat. I am still being protective, but can do lots of things standing up. I believe things will just continue to improve. I am very thankful to Dr. Falahee and the staff at St Joseph Hospital.

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