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Surgery for Refractory Coccygodynia

Operative Versus Nonoperative Treatment

Kleimeyer, John P., MD; Wood, Kirkham B., MD; Lønne, Greger, MD; Herzog, Tyler, BA; Ju, Kevin, MD; Beyer, Lisa, PA-C; Park, Christine, BA

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000002053

Study Design. This is a retrospective cohort study.

Objective. To evaluate the long-term outcomes for patients with refractory coccygodynia treated with coccygectomy compared to a nonsurgical regimen of sitting aids, physical therapy, medications, and injections.

Summary of Background Data. The surgical treatment of coccygodynia remains controversial. To date, there has only been one small comparative study of surgical versus nonsurgical treatment.

Methods. From 2004 to 2014, 109 patients presenting with coccygodynia were treated with either total coccygectomy or a nonsurgical course of sitting aids, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and injections. All had at least 2 years of symptoms before surgery. The patient principally made the treatment decision, counseled by the treating physician. Before surgery, all subjects underwent at least 2 years of conservative treatment and three-dimensional imaging (computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging). Subjects completed visual analog pain scales, EuroQol five-dimension, components of the PROMIS measure, and a novel Coccygodynia Disability Index evaluation. Work status, complications, and satisfaction were recorded.

Results. A total of 61 patients received nonsurgical care; eight declined participation and five could not be located. Forty-eight patients underwent total coccygectomy; three declined participation and five could not be located. At an average 4.8 years of follow-up (range: 2–9), the nonsurgical visual analog pain scales was 5 and the surgical 2 (P = 0.001); 79% of surgically treated patients were improved at 2 years versus 43% for the nonsurgical group. EuroQol five-dimension (P = 0.002), Coccygodynia Disability Index (0.01), and PROMIS Pain interference scores (0.02) were also significantly improved in the surgical group. Eleven surgical patients (26%) had complications, all wound related with successful resolution; seven treated with dressing changes and four with surgical debridement.

Conclusion. Total coccygectomy is a safe and effective surgical treatment of coccygodynia refractory to nonoperative care. Patient-reported outcome measures were improved after surgery compared with nonsurgical management. Postoperative wound care remains a concern.

Level of Evidence: 4

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Redwood City, CA

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Lillehammer, Norway

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Kirkham B. Wood, MD, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Stanford University, 450 Broadway St, MC 6342, Redwood City, CA 94063; E-mail:

Received 13 July, 2016

Revised 4 November, 2016

Accepted 2 December, 2016

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work.

No relevant financial activities outside the submitted work.

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.