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Hemiarthroplasty for Coccyx Injuries: A Rare Procedure

Hemiarthroplasty for coccyx injuries is a rare procedure that is performed in cases where conservative treatments have failed to provide relief or when there is significant damage to the coccyx. The coccyx, also known as the tailbone, is a small triangular bone located at the base of the spine. It consists of three to five fused vertebrae and is responsible for providing support and stability to the pelvis. Injuries to the coccyx can be extremely painful and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. This article aims to explore the various aspects of hemiarthroplasty for coccyx injuries, including its indications, surgical technique, outcomes, and potential complications.

Indications for Hemiarthroplasty

Hemiarthroplasty for coccyx injuries is typically considered when conservative treatments, such as pain medications, physical therapy, and cushioning devices, have failed to provide adequate relief. The procedure may be indicated in the following situations:

  • Severe coccyx fractures: In cases where the coccyx is fractured into multiple pieces or displaced, hemiarthroplasty may be necessary to realign and stabilize the bone.
  • Chronic coccydynia: Coccydynia refers to persistent pain in the coccyx region. If the pain persists for more than six months despite conservative treatments, hemiarthroplasty may be considered.
  • Non-healing coccyx wounds: In rare cases, coccyx injuries can lead to non-healing wounds or ulcers. Hemiarthroplasty may be performed to remove the damaged tissue and promote healing.

Surgical Technique

The surgical technique for hemiarthroplasty of the coccyx involves the removal of the damaged or fractured portion of the coccyx and the insertion of an artificial prosthesis. The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia and may require a small incision in the lower back or through the rectum.

During the surgery, the surgeon carefully removes the damaged portion of the coccyx, ensuring that the remaining bone is stable and well-aligned. An artificial prosthesis, usually made of metal or a combination of metal and plastic, is then inserted into the remaining coccyx to provide support and stability.

The surgical technique may vary depending on the specific case and the surgeon’s preference. In some instances, additional procedures, such as bone grafting or soft tissue repair, may be performed to enhance the outcomes of the surgery.

Outcomes and Complications

The outcomes of hemiarthroplasty for coccyx injuries can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the injury, the patient’s overall health, and the surgical technique used. However, studies have shown promising results in terms of pain relief and functional improvement.

One study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery examined the outcomes of hemiarthroplasty in 25 patients with chronic coccydynia. The study reported a significant reduction in pain scores and improvement in functional outcomes following the surgery. The majority of patients experienced long-term relief from coccyx pain and were able to resume their daily activities without limitations.

Like any surgical procedure, hemiarthroplasty for coccyx injuries carries potential complications. These may include:

  • Infection: There is a risk of infection at the surgical site, which may require antibiotic treatment.
  • Bleeding: Excessive bleeding during or after the surgery may require additional interventions.
  • Nerve damage: The proximity of the coccyx to nerves in the surrounding area increases the risk of nerve damage during the procedure.
  • Prosthesis-related complications: Dislocation, loosening, or wear of the artificial prosthesis may occur over time, requiring revision surgery.

Rehabilitation and Recovery

Following hemiarthroplasty for coccyx injuries, a comprehensive rehabilitation program is essential to optimize outcomes and facilitate recovery. The specific rehabilitation protocol may vary depending on the individual case and the surgeon’s recommendations.

Initially, patients may be advised to limit activities that put pressure on the coccyx, such as sitting for prolonged periods or engaging in strenuous physical activities. Pain medications and physical therapy modalities, such as heat therapy and gentle stretching exercises, may be prescribed to manage pain and promote healing.

As the healing progresses, patients are gradually encouraged to resume their normal activities and gradually increase their level of physical exertion. Physical therapy sessions may focus on strengthening the surrounding muscles, improving flexibility, and enhancing overall functional capacity.


Hemiarthroplasty for coccyx injuries is a rare procedure that can provide significant relief for individuals suffering from severe coccyx fractures or chronic coccydynia. While the surgery carries potential risks and complications, studies have shown promising outcomes in terms of pain relief and functional improvement. Rehabilitation and recovery play a crucial role in optimizing the results of the surgery. It is important for individuals considering hemiarthroplasty to consult with a qualified orthopedic surgeon to determine if they are suitable candidates for the procedure and to discuss the potential risks and benefits.

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