Coccygectomy/Broken Tailbone Surgery in Germantown, PA
The coccyx is a group of small bones that form the lower part of the spine. Depending on the individual, there are between three to five vertebrae that make up the tailbone. This short bone group ends in a soft point. The vertebrae are generally fused together, with the exception of the first segment.
The coccyx is curved under, but to what degree it curves will vary from one individual to the next. When you’re sitting down, you’re resting part of your upper body weight on your coccyx. If you break or injure your tailbone, it can lead to coccyx pain that may require a coccygectomy to fix. If you’re experiencing coccyx pain, speak with an experienced Germantown, PA spine specialist at NJ Spine & Orthopedic.
Causes of Coccyx Pain
Coccydynia is characterized by tenderness and pain in the coccyx or tailbone. Most causes of this condition are due to a traumatic injury or fracture to the pelvic bones or coccyx. It’s almost always due to tailbone trauma that occurs when:
- The coccyx is directly hit during activities or contact sports
- An individual falls onto a hard surface
- An individual engages in repetitive movements like rowing or bicycling
Women can also experience coccydynia due to childbirth since their tailbone can be injured or fractured while giving birth. Coccydynia generally impacts adults and seems to occur more often in women than men.
While tailbone breaks and fractures have similar symptoms as those above, they’re not considered coccydynia. It’s essential that you receive a correct diagnosis from your spine specialist so you can alleviate your discomfort and pain. You might be a good candidate for a coccygectomy.
What Is a Coccygectomy?
During a coccygectomy, a spinal surgeon will surgically remove your coccyx. It’s performed in cases of pain due to coccydynia or a broken tailbone when more conservative treatments like pain medication, rest, steroid injections, and physiotherapy have failed.
Spinal surgeons might take slightly different approaches to this procedure. Some may remove only part of the patient’s coccyx, whereas others remove the whole coccyx.
Generally, the procedure involves the following steps:
- The surgeon makes a one to two-inch incision over the top of your coccyx, which is found right under your skin and subcutaneous fat tissue. There are also no muscles for the surgeon to dissect away either.
- The surgeon dissects the periosteum (protective cartilage over the bone) from the bone beginning on your back, and then carries it around to the front.
- The surgeon removes your coccyx. If they suspect a tumor, they’ll likely order a biopsy.
Afterwards, full healing can take anywhere from a few months to a year after your procedure.
Possible Complications and Risks of a Coccygectomy
One of the biggest risks with a coccygectomy is continued pain post-operatively, which means there’s the chance that you could undergo the procedure, endure a long healing process, and still not experience full symptom improvement. Because of this, it’s crucial that patients are selected appropriately for a positive surgical outcome.
Other possible risks and possible complications include local infection or wound healing difficulties, which can delay the overall recovery and healing process. There are no significant nerve roots in this area that would be placed at risk, unlike most other spinal surgeries.
Are You a Good Candidate for a Coccygectomy?
If you have pain in your coccyx due to trauma, a break, or age-related issues, the first course of treatment is often conservative treatments.
A coccygectomy might be avoided if there’s a significant improvement from more conservative treatment options like pain medication, rest, cushions, steroid injections, and physiotherapy. However, if these conservative treatments do not work, your doctor may recommend a coccygectomy. They will evaluate your medical records, conduct further imaging testing such as MRIs or CT scans, and then determine the best course of treatment. This may include a coccygectomy.
Call the Germantown, PA Spine Specialists at NJ Spine & Orthopedic Today to Schedule a Consultation
If you’re experiencing coccydynia or other tailbone pain, deciding whether or not to have a coccygectomy procedure done to remove your tailbone is a tough decision. You’re facing months of healing time and long recovery, which is why many individuals are hesitant or have questions about this procedure.
Here at NJ Spine & Orthopedic, our spine surgeons in Germantown, PA are specialized in coccyx pain treatment. We understand why you may be a little apprehensive about coccygectomy and are here to help you feel at ease. We will work with you every step of the way. Call us today at (866) 553-0612 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation to discuss all your options for your coccyx pain, including coccygectomy.