What is a Pilonidal Cyst?

Located in the crease of the buttocks, a pilonidal cyst is a chronic skin infection that affects about 70,000 people every year, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Despite the discomfort caused by these cysts, many people feel too embarrassed to mention the condition to their doctor.

Ignoring your pilonidal cyst won’t make them go away. In fact, failing to get treatment may worsen the situation.

Here at Paonessa Colon and Rectal Surgery, P.C., our board-certified general surgeon and proctologist, Dr. Nina Paonessa, specializes in diagnosing and treating pilonidal cysts. She wants you to know more about this common skin condition so you can get the treatment you need. 

Formation of a pilonidal cyst

Experts are still trying to understand all the factors that cause a pilonidal cyst. 

But, it’s believed that the cysts occur from an infection that may start in the hair follicles found in the crease of the buttocks. The hair that grows from this follicle may then grow into the skin and worsen the condition. 

Loose hairs from other parts of the body may also form a pilonidal cyst, says the Mayo Clinic. Pressure and friction from clothing or activities may cause the hair to penetrate the skin. Your skin treats the hair as a foreign invader, creating a cyst around it. 

Signs and symptoms of a pilonidal cyst

If you have what appears to be a large pimple on your tailbone, then you may have a pilonidal cyst. Your cyst may also be painful and drain clear, cloudy, or bloody fluid. 

With an infected pilonidal cyst, you may notice more swelling and redness around your cyst, and drainage may be foul-smelling. You may also develop a fever, nausea, and vomiting with an infected pilonidal cyst.

A pilonidal cyst may be a one-time event. However, when left untreated, your acute pilonidal cyst may turn into a chronic condition in which you develop recurrent pilonidal cysts or the formation of new pilonidal cysts.

Your pilonidal cyst may also increase your risk of developing a life-threatening systemic infection. 

Treating your pilonidal cyst

We create individualized pilonidal cyst treatment plans that best fit your needs. Treatment may depend on the severity of your symptoms, and the frequency of cyst recurrence.

The primary treatment for a pilonidal cyst is drainage of the abscess. We perform this procedure at the office under local anesthesia. Unfortunately, draining the cyst may not prevent a recurrence.

To treat recurrent pilonidal cysts, we perform a surgical procedure to remove the cyst sac. Dr. Paonessa uses advanced surgical techniques during this procedure to limit your recovery and downtime. 

Pilonidal cysts are common and early diagnosis and treatment may prevent chronic problems. To schedule an appointment at our Brielle or Manahawkin, New Jersey, office, call or book online using the website scheduling tool.

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