Patient Education Program
What You Should Know About Pilonidal Disease
What You Should Know About Pilonidal Disease

What is Pilonidal Disease?

Pilonidal disease is an infection of the skin in the region of the 'buttock crease'. It creates a cavity (cyst) below the skin surface that connects to the skin surface with one or more openings or tracts.

What causes Pilonidal Disease?

The condition results from a reaction to hairs embedded in the skin, commonly occurring in the cleft between the buttocks.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms vary from a small dimple to a large painful mass. With infection, the area becomes red, tender, and the drainage will have a foul odor.

There are two patterns of this disease:

  1. A Sudden Flare-up resulting in tract formation that subsequently lays silent, and never bothers you again.
  2. Recurrent episodes of swelling, pain, and drainage. As time goes on, the infections get more severe, and the cavity (cyst) grows.

How is Pilonidal Disease treated?

  1. A Sudden Flare-up is managed with an incision to release the infection, and reduce the pain. This procedure usually can be performed in your doctor’s office with local anesthesia.
  2. Recurrent Disease is treated with outpatient surgery. It is performed using a spinal anesthetic. Surgery has a 90% success rate.
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