Treatment of Pilonidal Cysts and Disease

By Shareef Jandali on May 04, 2013

What is Pilonidal Disease?

Pilonidal disease is a chronic infection of the skin around the buttock crease.  It can affect both men and women, but is more common in men.  It frequently occurs between puberty and the age of 40. 

Pilonidal Disease Causes

Pilonidal disease is thought to develop because of ingrown hairs within the buttock crease that get plugged.  These then form pilonidal cysts underneath the skin, which enlarge and can become infected.  As these cysts grow and fester, they can tunnel underneath the skin and spread to adjacent areas, forming pilonidal sinus tracts.

Pilonidal Disease Symptoms

After pilonidal cyts become infected, the area often becomes red, drains fluid (pus), and becomes quite painful when sitting or performing daily activities.  The resultant abscess often needs to be drained surgically in order to clear the infection.  Patients are also prescribed antibiotics to help fight the skin and soft tissue infection and are instructed to do warm Sitz baths.  After the acute infection clears, a chronic pilonidal sinus often forms.  This sinus is a cavity underneath the skin that connects with the surface by a small tract.  This will often continue to get plugged and cause recurrent and chronic infections, which need to be drained and treated with antibiotics each time.

Old Method for Treating Pilonidal Disease

The treatment for pilonidal disease consists of removing the cyst, sinus tract, and any surrounding involved tissue.  The old way of performing this was to remove all the tissue and leave the wound open to heal from the inside.  This is uncomfortable and often takes months of daily dressing changes until it is healed.  This is a burden on patients both physically and psychologically. 

New Way to Treat Pilonidal Disease

Dr. Jandali treats pilonidal disease in Connecticut  in conjunction with a general surgeon in Bridgeport, Norwalk, Fairfield, or Westport.  Dr. Jandali will remove all of the diseased and infected skin and tissue with the general surgeon.  Dr. Jandali then performs a small flap which closes the skin so that there is no open wound and dressing changes do not have to be performed.  This minimizes scarring on the buttock and gives a nice cosmetic outcome.  This is an outpatient operation with minimal pain and quick recovery.  A drain is placed for one week and activity is limited for the first week after surgery.  This technique has been shown in the scientific literature to have one of the lowest rates of pilonidal recurrence.

Schedule an Appointment

If you live in Connecticut or New York and have pilonidal disease that needs treatment, schedule a consultation with Board Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Shareef Jandali.  If you do not have a general surgeon yet, Dr. Jandali can make a referral.  Call 203-374-0310 to set up an appointment.  We look forward to seeing you.

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