Pilonidal Cyst

A pilonidal cyst is cavity underneath the skin over the tailbone. Pilonidal literally means “nest of hair” because the cavity is often found to contain hair. It is an acquired disease and not inherited. You are not born with it.

Some people have no symptoms. Occasionally, pus accumulates in the cyst, causing an abscess to form. This will cause fever or pain and swelling in the tailbone area. Low-grade infections occur periodically, and patients experience milder, recurring episodes of pain and swelling.

This problem is more common in young adults and teenagers. This condition is rare in patients over 40 years of age. It is three times more common in men than women.

Patients with an acute abscess can generally be treated in the surgeons office. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area. A small incision is made to allow for drainage of pus. This immediately relieves pressure and decreases pain. Daily cleansing of the area in the bathtub or shower is important to keep hair and other debris out of the wound. Follow up care is necessary until the wound is healed. Healing occurs quickly, and usually the wounds are completely closed in three weeks.

Mild or severe repeated episodes of pilonidal cysts may require surgery. This can be done on an outpatient basis. In most cases the cyst is opened, cleaned, and allowed to heal from the inside out. After surgery it is important to keep gauze in the wound to keep the skin edges separated until the wound fills in from the bottom. Follow up care is required until the wound is healed. In some situations, a more complex procedure is required.

After surgery approximately 10 percent of patients will develop another cyst. It is necessary to keep the area free from hair with the use of a depilatory cream to prevent a reoccurrence.

Surgical Associates of Palm Beach County / Boca Care (SAPBC) is a multi-specialty surgical group practice with expertise in General, Breast, Vascular, Endovascular, Thoracic, Colon Rectal, and Surgical Oncology. Our office is located in Boca Raton Florida.

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