Intracoccygeal and pericoccygeal glomus bodies and their relationship to coccygodynia

Surgery. 1994 Jan;115(1):1-6.


Background: Coccygodynia is an uncommon condition of diverse causes. A few cases were attributed to so-called pericoccygeal glomus tumors. However, the pericoccygeal soft tissues normally contain numerous small glomus bodies and a larger one known as the glomus coccygeum, which can reach several millimeters in diameter. Most reported cases of alleged pericoccygeal glomus tumors represent normal, incidentally discovered coccygeal glomus bodies. Recently, an intracoccygeal glomus tumor was reported as a cause of coccygodynia. However, we suspected that glomera can also occur normally within the coccyx itself.

Methods: Twenty coccyges from fetuses, newborns, infants, and adults were obtained at autopsy, embedded in toto, and examined histologically in step sections.

Results: Intracoccygeal glomera were present in six of the nine pediatric specimens and all 11 adult specimens. All were microscopic structures, and none appeared to have caused bony destruction or erosion. They did not differ from the structures previously reported as alleged intracoccygeal "glomus tumors."

Conclusions: Pericoccygeal and intracoccygeal glomus bodies are normal findings in humans at all ages. They should not be mistaken for tumors, and their role in the pathogenesis of coccygodynia is questionable.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coccyx / pathology*
  • Female
  • Glomus Tumor / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pregnancy