Health & Fitness

What to Expect From Pilonidal Cyst Surgery?

A pilonidal cyst is a swelling that develops in the cleft of the buttocks and usually appears like a pimple. Infection usually occurs in this type of cyst and it can be very painful. As compared to women, men are more susceptible to these diseases, especially younger men. The most worrisome thing about this disease is that it tends to recur even after successful treatment. Just in case, it recurs after the surgical removal, then the procedure might have to be repeated to treat the cyst. Also, there are a couple of things that need to be taken care of during the pilonidal cyst surgery recovery to prevent a recurrence.

There are various procedures for treating this condition namely draining the cyst and surgical removal. The procedure that involves surgery is known as a pilonidal cystectomy. Although it is one of the most effective treatments, most people tend to hesitate as it causes a lot of stress and anxiety. Therefore, to ease your worries, this article will provide you with detailed information on what to expect from pilonidal cyst surgery.

Pilonidal Cyst Surgery

Pilonidal cyst causes swelling under the skin in the cleft of the buttocks. This swelling is often filled with ingrown hair follicles, dead skin cells, and other dirt and debris. This condition often leads the cyst to infection forming a boil filled with foul-smelling pus. Sometimes, the pus drains itself as the abscess erupts. However, to get rid of the infection, you are required to go for pilonidal cystectomy or pilonidal surgery.

It is a minor surgical procedure that is performed under general or local anesthesia so that it would be easier for you to manage the main during the removal of the infected abscess.

Risk Factor

As far as the risks involving this procedure are concerned, it is usually considered a very safe procedure. Before going through the procedure, your doctor will thoroughly explain what to expect from the surgery and the benefits and risks as well. Following are some of the risks that you should be aware of:

  • Delayed healing
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Recurring cysts

Why is Pilonidal Cystectomy Required?

An infected pilonidal cyst might cause pain that is agonizing. The pain is somewhat similar to pressing your tailbone against a sharp corner of a table. This condition commonly occurs among men under the age of 40. Although it is more common in men even women can also get a pilonidal cyst. Following are some of the conditions that are at risk of developing pilonidal cyst.

  • Those who have thick and wiry hair in the lower back
  • Sitting for long durations
  • Friction

The chances of the pilonidal cyst getting infected are quite high. If the infection spreads then, the condition might get severe and cause excruciating pain. Also, it increases the chances of recurrences of the disease. Therefore it is always best to get it treated before it gets serious as it will not only relieve you from the pain but will also reduce the chances of recurrence.

Symptoms of Pilonidal Sinus Disease

Following are some of the symptoms of Pilonidal Sinus Disease:

  • Intolerable pain near the tailbone
  • Tenderness in the lower back area
  • Inflammation in the area
  • Bump
  • Foul-smelling drainage
  • Fever

As far as the diagnosis is concerned, an infected cyst may be easily diagnosed by your healthcare provider by visual examination. However, to determine the scope of infection an ultrasound of the infected area may be required.

First Treatment Approach

The first approach to treat the cyst that your physician will most likely adopt is creating an incision through the cyst and draining the abscess. It is usually performed under local anesthesia in the emergency room. If there are no other problems associated with the cyst then antibiotics will not be prescribed.

When the first approach and other forms of treatments fail, then only your doctor will advise you to go for pilonidal cyst surgery. The draining procedure might be able to treat the infection but if it’s pilonidal sinus disease then it is a complex condition and there are chances of recurrence.

How to Prepare for the Cyst Surgery

In some cases, the pilonidal cyst surgery might be performed in case of an emergency. That is when the patient complains of excruciating pain suddenly. But in most cases, it is a scheduled surgery and is performed in a hospital or a surgical center.

What to Expect on the Day of Surgery

A day or two before your scheduled surgery, you will be informed about the timing of when you should be in the health facility. The procedure may take 40-45 minutes at the most. Before the surgery, you will have to go through a brief examination. A nurse will follow you up with your medical history and check your overall health. Once you are cleared, you will be taken to the surgery room, where the anesthesiologist will give you medicine that will help you to relax. It depends on you whether you wish to go for general anesthesia or local anesthesia.

During the procedure, the surgeon will create an incision on the cyst and the sinus, and the area will be cleaned using saline and suction till there are no signs of infection. If a major part of the tissue is removed during the surgery then it may be covered with a gauze and a drainage tube will be attached to it. The purpose of the tube is to drain any fluids that might lead to infection. If less tissue has been removed then the wound may be left open to see if the further infection takes place or not.

After the Procedure

After the cystectomy is completed, you will be kept under observation until the sedation wears off. You will be discharged on the same day and the doctor will give you detailed instructions to follow on how to take care of the area during the recovery period. You will also require a follow-up appointment.


As far as the time for the recovery post-surgery is concerned, it depends on how the procedure was performed. Wounds that were left open to heal might take several months to completely heal. If the wound was stitched then it might take 3-4 months to completely heal. You can get back to work in less than 4 weeks. But you are advised to avoid heavy exercise and other activities that might strain you till the time your wound is completely healed. To ensure that you have completely healed and there are no recurrences of the disease, you will need several follow-up appointments.

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