Coccygectomy for chronic refractory coccygodynia: clinical case series and literature review

J Neurosurg Spine. 2011 May;14(5):654-63. doi: 10.3171/2010.12.SPINE10262. Epub 2011 Feb 18.


Object: Coccygodynia is disabling pain in the coccyx and is usually provoked by sitting or rising from sitting. The diagnosis can be missed by neurosurgeons likely to encounter the disorder, and surgical treatment for coccygodynia has historically been viewed with caution. The authors conducted a retrospective review of 62 successive coccygectomy surgeries for coccygodynia performed at their institution.

Methods: Sixty-two consecutive cases of coccygectomy for coccygodynia in 61 unique patients were identified from the surgical database; they had been treated between 1997 and 2009. The authors succeeded in contacting 26 patients for follow-up (42.6%). A retrospective chart review was performed, and a telephone questionnaire was administered to these patients. Data collected included cause, pre- and postoperative visual analog scale, a graded outcome measure, and patient satisfaction. The median follow-up time was 37 months (range 2-133 months).

Results: The clinical results among the 26 patients with follow-up were as follows: 13 excellent, 9 good, 2 fair, and 2 poor. The overall favorable (excellent and good) outcome after coccygectomy was 84.6%. There were 3 wound infections (11.5%). There were no rectal injuries. An overwhelming majority of patients were satisfied with the procedure.

Conclusions: The authors report the results of their clinical case series, which to date is the largest in North America. The results closely concur with previously published case series from Europe. Coccygectomy for chronic intractable coccygodynia is simple and effective, with a low complication rate. A comprehensive literature review and discussion of coccygectomy is provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Coccyx / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / surgery*
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome