These cysts seem to be caused most often by an ingrown hair. A hair grows back under the skin or skin grows closed over a hair. This might happen, for example, because of pressure or friction, like when you have been sitting or riding a bicycle for a long time. The ingrown hair irritates the skin and causes a cyst to form around the hair.
You may be more likely to have a pilonidal cyst if you were born with a little dimple in the skin between the buttocks. For reasons that are not well understood, the dimple can tend to get infected.
The size of the pilonidal cyst may range from a small tender dimple to a large painful area.
If the cyst is infected, usually it needs to be drained by your healthcare provider. This treats the infection and gets rid of the pressure that causes pain. It can be done in your provider's office. Even if the cyst is not infected, opening it and draining it is recommended to relieve pain and prevent infection.
The process for draining a pilonidal abscess is:
A problem called a chronic pilonidal sinus can happen after an abscess has been drained. A pilonidal sinus is a space under the skin that forms where the abscess used to be. The problem with the sinus is that it can lead to repeated infections. The sinus connects to the skin with one or more small openings. In some cases the sinus may heal and close by itself, but usually the sinus has to be cut out. The sinus area may be stitched shut after the sinus is removed or it may be left open to drain and heal from the inside out. Your provider will discuss your choices for treatment.
The wound will need 1 to 2 months to heal. In some cases it may take up to 6 months to heal.
A problem called complex or recurrent pilonidal disease is a complication of a pilonidal cyst. It may happen if:
In this case your healthcare provider must cut away the old wound, scar, and other inflamed tissue. This is a more extensive surgery than simple drainage of an abscess or removal of a sinus.
Before you see your healthcare provider for treatment, it can help to:
After incision and drainage of the cyst:
For more information contact the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons at 847-290-9184 or visit their Web site at http://www.fascrs.org
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Published by RelayHealth.
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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