A pilonidal cyst can cause a painful abscess at the top of your buttock cleft that needs draining and may require surgery. Nina Paonessa, DO, of Paonessa Colon & Rectal Surgery, PC, in Brielle and Manahawkin, New Jersey, specializes in treating conditions like these.

Dr. Paonessa is a highly skilled colorectal surgeon who uses a surgical technique to remove troublesome pilonidal cysts that creates minimal tissue damage and encourages faster healing. Call Paonessa Colon & Rectal Surgery, PC, to schedule an appointment today.

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What is a pilonidal cyst?

A pilonidal cyst is an area of skin that forms a pocket, often containing shed skin and hair. The cyst typically develops near your tailbone, where the buttock cleft begins.

In its early stages, the cyst might not be too problematic. However, if infection sets in, the abscess that results can be very painful. Infected pilonidal cysts look red, and there might be blood or pus draining from the cyst.

What causes a pilonidal cyst?

Pilonidal cysts usually develop when a hair punctures your skin and embeds itself. The reason why this happens isn’t apparent, but pressure and friction around the tailbone area could force the hair into your skin.

The cyst develops around the hair because your body treats it as a foreign invader. Pilonidal cysts usually affect young men or people who spend much of their time seated. Wearing tight clothes or spending a lot of time cycling could also increase your chances of developing a pilonidal cyst.

If your hair is coarse or stiff, and you have a lot of body hair, your risk of getting a pilonidal cyst is even higher. Being obese or very inactive can also play a part in the development of pilonidal cysts.

If you’ve had a pilonidal cyst once, you’re more likely to get another.

How is a pilonidal cyst treated?

If you have a pilonidal cyst, Dr. Paonessa can perform an in-office procedure to drain the contents under local anesthetic.

Unfortunately, pilonidal cysts are likely to recur. If this happens frequently, Dr. Paonessa might suggest surgery to remove your cyst. She uses a surgical technique that minimizes wounds and prevents prolonged healing time, so you don’t need to have too many missed school or workdays.

Stitched wounds heal more quickly, but there’s a higher chance of the cyst recurring. Open wounds heal more slowly, but there’s less chance of a new cyst developing. Dr. Paonessa’s technique creates minimal tissue damage, so you get faster healing and a reduced chance of a new cyst developing.

You need to care for your wound properly after surgery to remove a pilonidal cyst. Dr. Paonessa will give you detailed guidance on how to look after the wound and change your dressings, and when to return for a checkup.

If you have a pilonidal cyst, call Paonessa Colon & Rectal Surgery, PC, to book an appointment today.