Coccygectomy for coccygodynia: a cohort study with a long-term follow-up of up to 29 years

Eur Spine J. 2021 Apr;30(4):1072-1076. doi: 10.1007/s00586-020-06627-w. Epub 2020 Nov 3.


Purpose: We aim to critically review the effectiveness and safety of coccygectomy with special regard to long-term outcomes.

Methods: Coccygectomy was performed in our clinic in 38 patients between 1990 and 2019. All these patients (32 females vs. 6 males) have failed to respond to conservative treatment for at least 6 months prior to surgery. All patients were available for follow-up after mean 12,3 years (2 months to 29 years, 11 patients had a minimum FUP of 24 years). We evaluated all patients clinically and radiologically.

Results: Nineteen patients reported traumatic and 17 patients reported idiopathic onset of their symptoms; one patient had clinical symptoms after childbirth and another patient had coccygodynia after extensive low back surgery. 36 of our 38 patients were free of pain at least 6 months after surgery and had good or excellent clinical results according to the VAS which improved from 6.37 (SD 1.08) preoperatively to 0.68 (SD 0.99) at the recent follow-up. Two patients showed an ODI > 22 at the recent follow-up (24 and 28) and 32 had an ODI equal or under 4. There was no statistical significant difference in terms of clinical outcome between the different radiological types of the coccyx. Postoperative complications were rare: 1 superficial infection and one re-operation 6 months after initial surgery due to an pre-existing exostosis which had not been removed at the index surgery; no neurological complications and no major bleeding occurred. No patient had recurrent onset of coccygodynia. 37 out of 38 patients would have coccygectomy again.

Conclusions: Coccygectomy is a safe treatment option in patients with coccygodynia and shows excellent long-term results. We recommend to perform coccygectomy if patients fail to respond to conservative treatment for 6 months.

Level of evidence: IV.

Keywords: Coccygectomy; Coccygodynia; Coccyx; Tailbone pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Coccyx
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain*
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome