Coccygectomy/Broken Tailbone Surgery in Allentown, PA
The tailbone, also known as the coccyx, is located below the sacrum at the base of the spine. Although small in size, it has several vital functions. It serves as an insertion point for muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The coccyx also acts as one of the three bones that make up the bottom of a pelvis structure to provide support when you sit.
Coccydynia, or tailbone pain, is discomfort in and around the small triangular bone located at the bottom of the spinal column. While the pain usually remedies on its own within a few weeks or months, a coccygectomy can be done to remove the coccyx if other treatments don’t help alleviate this pain. Our team at NJ Spine and Orthopedic in Allentown, PA can evaluate your medical records to determine the best treatment options for your tailbone pain.
What Causes Tailbone Pain?
Tailbone damage can be categorized as either post-traumatic, non-traumatic, or idiopathic. Post-traumatic coccygodynia usually occurs due to internal or external trauma, such as a backward fall that dislocates or breaks the coccyx. Internal trauma can occur due to a difficult childbirth. Repetitive sitting on hard surfaces can also lead to minor trauma and coccygodynia.
Non-traumatic coccydynia often develops from degenerative disc disease or a pilonidal cyst that becomes infected. Other factors also increase an individual’s risk of developing coccygodynia, such as body mass, age, and gender. Obesity makes the coccyx vulnerable to intra-pelvic pressure, and rapid weight reduction can lead to the loss of cushioning around the coccyx.
Adults and adolescents are more likely to present with coccygodynia than children. Fortunately, most cases resolve within a few weeks to months, but for some people, tailbone pain can become chronic and challenging to manage due to its complex nature.
Symptoms of a Broken Tailbone
The most common complaint with a tailbone fracture is pain, typically localized to the coccyx joint. Those affected often describe the pain as a pulling or cutting sensation that may increase during bowel movement, including tenderness or palpation of the coccyx. Also common is pain that worsens with prolonged sitting or transitioning from sitting to standing.
Some individuals may also experience increased pain during coughing or menstruation. Although lower back pain is not a typical symptom of coccygodynia, it may still occur due to the shape of the coccyx and its forward curvature. Identifying the underlying cause of tailbone pain as early as possible is important, as it may not always result from a physical injury. Other potential causes include muscle spasms in the pelvic region, a cyst with ingrown hair, or even a spinal tumor.
Broken Tailbone Treatment Options
Many people recover from coccydynia without any medical intervention, and for those who do, at-home remedies such as over-the-counter medication can help alleviate pain and swelling. Traditional remedies for addressing coccyx pain include limiting sitting time, sitting with a forward lean, or using a donut-shaped coccygeal gel cushion while sitting to alleviate discomfort.
If non-surgical treatments are unsuccessful, patients may be considered for a coccygectomy. These options include partial coccygectomy, which removes part of the coccyx, or a total coccygectomy, which is removal of the entire coccyx. This is typically a last resort for patients with confirmed coccydynia or chronic tailbone pain caused by a coccyx abnormality, such as a dislocation or fracture.
During a coccygectomy, the surgeon creates an incision of about one to two inches over the coccyx, which is situated directly under the skin and subcutaneous fat tissue. The protective cartilage covering the bone will be detached from the bone, starting from the back and moving around to the front. The coccyx will then be removed, and if suspicions of a spinal tumor exist, it may receive a biopsy. This procedure takes approximately thirty minutes and can be performed on an outpatient basis.
Contact a Broken Tailbone Surgeon at NJ Spine and Orthopedic in Allentown, PA
One concern following a coccygectomy is the possibility of experiencing pain. This can be discouraging for patients who’ve already endured a lengthy recovery process without seeing any improvement. Nonetheless, a coccygectomy is still an excellent option for patients who have some mobility in their coccyx and respond well to injection treatments.
If this describes your situation, an NJ Spine & Orthopedic tailbone surgeon in Allentown, PA can help. Our skilled surgeons specialize in procedures like coccygectomy, among many others, and offer state-of-the-art care for those seeking relief from coccyx pain and improved mobility. Call (866) 553-0612 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our Concierge Team can also work with you to streamline your appointments to reduce stress and help with the treatment process.