What Is Involved in Coccyx Removal?

The removal of the coccyx is formally known as a coccygectomy.
The tailbone, or coccyx, is the lowest segment of the spinal column.
Coccyx removal is generally a last resort and requires many medical images and doctor consultations beforehand.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2014
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In coccyx removal, a surgeon will operate on a patient under general anesthesia to completely remove the coccyx, also known as the tailbone. This procedure, known formally as a coccygectomy, is usually used for the treatment of chronic pain that does not respond to other treatments or in the treatment of cancers of the tailbone. Recovery can take months, and the patient may experience significant pain during recovery.

Before a coccyx removal surgery can be performed, the patient is carefully evaluated. Medical imaging studies of the coccyx are performed, and the surgeon meets with the patient to see if the patient is a good candidate. In the case of cancers where the cancer has penetrated into the bone, the removal procedure may be medically necessary to proceed with cancer treatment. For chronic pain conditions, coccyx removal is generally regarded as a treatment option of last resort and the surgeon will want to meet with the patient to confirm the patient has tried other means of treatment and they have not worked.

On the day of the surgery, patients will be advised to fast. At the hospital, they change into gowns and may be asked to wash the area around the tailbone, although it will be wiped down again in the operating room. Intravenous lines are inserted to secure access to the patient's veins and introduce medications, and the patient is placed under anesthesia. The coccyx removal surgery takes around an hour.

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After surgery, patients usually cannot sit up or lie on their backs without severe pain. Supportive pillows and other aids may be used to help patients feel more comfortable and they will be encouraged to adopt a position associated with minimal pain. Analgesic medications can also be offered as the patient recovers. This back surgery carries a risk of infection and the patient must care well for the surgical site, being especially careful to avoid fecal contamination of the site caused by poor hygiene.

For the first few months after coccyx removal, patients may notice an increase in pain and discomfort. After the initial healing phases, a substantial improvement should be experienced. Pain levels should go down and the patient will be able to sit and lie comfortably in addition to engaging in normal activities. Patients with chronic pain that did not respond well to other treatments may find their quality of life is much improved after the surgery.

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anon342380
Post 5

After trying all methods of treatment, my group of doctors and I decided the operation was needed. This was after two years of terrible pain. All went well and I am on the road to recovery. It will be months before I am able to sit normally but if given the choice, I would do it all over again. If there is anyone out there contemplating this surgery, my advice is go for it.

One warning, and I am not saying this applies to everyone, just myself. The drug used on me for pain was a step above morphine. My system is sensitive and I went through withdrawals for about a week. But please understand that I had been on pain pills for over two years! Afterward, I felt so much better, my appetite has returned and I am on the road to recovery. Be strong and live long.

Esther11
Post 3

One very effective accessory that can be used to sit if you have a painful coccyx,is a specially designed coccyx cushion. They are really quite comfortable and reduce coccyx pain. I have one myself.

I have the kind that is shaped like a donut. When you sit on a chair, you try to line up your tailbone over the hole so it doesn't get any pressure from your body weight. Inflatable cushions are also available, but they may deflate.

I decided to go to a surgical supply store so I could try the different cushions out. Or you can buy them online.

Clairdelune
Post 2

Besides doing coccyx surgery on cancer patients, doctors also perform coccygectomy on patients who are experiencing chronic pain and no other treatments have worked.

Doctors and therapists try every possible treatment before they suggest surgery to patients.

I think that it is a good thing to put off surgery until the patient has exhausted every way of treating their ailment

My mom fractured her tailbone when she was a little girl. She came down hard on a teeter-totter. She had periodic pain throughout her life, but just dealt with it.

Misscoco
Post 1

Coccyx surgery must be one of the most painful operations to recover from. I can't imagine all the pain and the time it takes to get back to normal. Even if you have a healthy tail bone, after sitting a while, it starts to hurt!

Since most of the surgeries on the coccyx are done on people with cancer of this bone, they're glad to be getting rid of the cancer, and are willing to endure the pain.

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