Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

A pilonidal cyst is a growth of unnatural skin that occurs commonly at the lower back (tailbone). The cyst usually becomes a chronic condition because of its location. Generally, when the ingrown hair continues to grow beneath the skin, it causes a pilonidal cyst. Boil or pilonidal abscess refers to the infection of the cyst. This pilonidal abscess is filled with bad-smelling pus and other materials such as dead hair, dirt, and other debris. In case of infection, it can cause severe pain, and pilonidal cyst excision surgery is the only treatment option available. 

This abscess can get drained with medical treatment or if it erupts on its own. When this happens, most patients develop a pilonidal sinus (a cavity beneath the skin that connects to the surface through the pores). Then the infection can spread from the cyst into the sinus tract. Over time, this can become severely painful. So, the best is to find treatments that can eliminate the infection and cure the pilonidal cyst completely.


The symptoms of pilonidal sinus may include the followings:

  • Swelling in the infected area
  • Tenderness in the lower back
  • Fever
  • Severe pain around the tailbone
  • Dirty-smelling drainage

Risk factors

Pilonidal cysts are more common in men between puberty and 40 ages. However, the condition can also affect women as well.

The factors that can increase the risk of developing a pilonidal cyst may include the followings:

  • Thick and excessive hair around the lower back
  • Sitting or cycling for long periods
  • Obesity
  • And anything that gives a lot of pressure and friction on the lower back

Prevention of pilonidal cyst infection

Now that you are aware of what pilonidal cysts are and let us look at the ways to prevent pilonidal cyst infection. So, the following are some of the ways that can help in preventing pilonidal cyst infection. They are as follows:

  • Always keep the cyst and the area surrounding the cyst clean and dry
  • Regularly removing hair around the area of the cyst to prevent hair from entering the cyst
  • Do not sit in the same position for long times
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes to reduce skin irritation around the cyst
  • Do not touch the pilonidal cyst often as this can also irritate the cyst

Incision and drainage procedure

In this procedure, the surgeon will make a minor incision in the infected cyst to let the pus drain out of it. Besides the pus, other debris will also be flushed out. This procedure might not be able to completely cure the cyst. However, it will clear off all the abscesses including the debris and other dirt that is accumulated in the cyst. In fact, the incision and drainage procedure is the initial treatment for pilonidal cysts.  If the infection recurs, then to prevent the condition from becoming chronic, an invasive surgical procedure may be necessary. 

Pilonidal cyst excision surgery

The initial treatment of the cyst is a more conservation form of treatment. If this treatment fails to get rid of the infection then there is an increased risk of suffering from recurring cysts. Hence, to completely remove the infection and the cyst, pilonidal cyst excision surgery is necessary. 

In this surgical procedure, the surgeon will cut open the cyst to drain out the pus, dead hair, dirt, and other debris. After draining the cyst completely, the surgeon will then remove the cyst and the skin surrounding it. To prevent further infection, the surgeon will clean the wound using an antibacterial cleaner. This procedure not only helps in removing the cyst completely but also, helps in preventing recurrences. An additional advantage of this procedure is that there is no need of staying in the hospital as it is an outpatient procedure. 

When does the requirement for pilonidal cyst excision surgery arise? 

The following are some of the conditions in which the doctor treating you might recommend surgery:

  • if other forms of treatment fail to treat the pilonidal cyst infection. 
  • in case the infection recurs frequently
  • if the infection is chronic

The main purpose of the surgical procedure is to remove the cyst after draining it properly. And thankfully this form of treatment is one of the most effective treatments for pilonidal cysts. This procedure effectively helps in getting rid of the infection and also the removal of the cyst prevents it from recurring.

Pilonidal excision surgery procedure

The procedure for pilonidal cyst removal involves the following procedure:

  • An incision will be made into the abscess
  • Through the incision, the pus from the cyst is drained
  • Removal of the cyst along with the surrounding area
  • Cleaning the wound using antibacterial treatments to prevent infection

Once the draining and cleaning procedure through the excision completes, the surgeon can either stitch up the wound or leave it open. In most cases, the surgeon leaves the wound open as it helps to heal the area inside out. It also reduces the risk of recurrences. The disadvantage of leaving the wound open is that it takes longer to heal the wound completely. In addition, you will also have to keep the surgical site clean and change the dressing daily until the area heals completely.

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