Pilonidal Cyst - Excision

This is the drainage of fluid from a small sac of fluid in the skin at the base of the spine, just above the crease of the buttocks.

This is the drainage of fluid from a small sac of fluid in the skin at the base of the spine, just above the crease of the buttocks.

A pilonidal cyst is a small sac of fluid that forms in the skin at the base of the spine. It is typically just above the crease of the buttocks. It usually looks like a small depression in the skin. It may also have a few hairs sticking out of it. The exact cause of pilonidal cysts is not known. These cysts seem to form when hair follicles in the lower spine become inflamed and enlarged. When germs enter the large follicles, they can cause irritation and infection. Some factors that raise your risk of developing these cysts include:

  • Being a male in your teens to early 40s
  • Having a family history of pilonidal cysts
  • Having a lot of body hair
  • Being overweight
  • Sweating a lot
  • Wearing tight clothing

Repeated friction in the lower spinal area can also raise the chance of a pilonidal cyst becoming irritated or infected. An example may be frequent long bumpy rides in a vehicle.

Unless they become irritated or infected, pilonidal cysts usually cause few or no symptoms. When they become infected they can cause:

  • Pain
  • Redness and warmth
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Discharge, which may have an unpleasant odor

If a pilonidal cyst becomes infected, it may need to be opened so the fluid inside (pus) can drain out. This minor procedure involves making a small incision in the skin over the cyst. After it is drained, the area may be closed with stitches or packed with sterile gauze. This can help it can heal slowly from the inside out, especially if the cyst was infected.

  • Wounds that are closed right after being drained tend to heal quicker. However, if it is closed right away the cyst is more likely to come back.
  • If you keep getting infections, the entire area around the cyst may need to be surgically removed.

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of a pilonidal cyst.

  • Bring a copy of your medical history (past illnesses, surgeries and hospitalizations).
  • Make a list of your medications (including over-the-counter).
  • Write down any questions, symptoms, or concerns you want to talk about.

Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider:

  • What is my diagnosis and what treatment are you recommending? Are there any alternatives?
  • Will I need to take antibiotics?
  • How do I stop recurrences of the cyst?
  • How long will it take me to recover after an incision and drainage? Can you do the incision and drainage in the office?
  • When might I start to see improvement in my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need? What is the reason for those tests? Will the test results change my treatment plan?
  • What are my follow-up plans and what symptoms should I report before my next appointment?

Make sure you understand your treatment plan, any possible alternatives and what medications are recommended (including possible side effects).

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

Pilonidal Cyst - Excision
Acne Conditions

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