A pilonidal cyst is a fluid-filled defect. It is found at the base of the spine, or “tailbone” area.
refer to different stages of the disease process.
Abscess—pocket of pus
Sinus—opening between a cyst (or other internal structure) and the outside
When a pilonidal cyst is infected, it forms an abscess, eventually draining pus through a sinus. Pilonidal cysts are harmless until they get infected. At this point they form an abscess that causes pain, a foul smell, and drainage. This is more likely to occur in young Caucasian men with a lot of hair in the region.
This condition is not serious, but since it is an infection like a
, it can enlarge and become uncomfortable. Therefore, it should be treated.
A pilonidal condition may be congenital or acquired. If congenital, it probably began as a defect that existed when you were born. Sometime later, the defect allowed an infection to develop. If acquired, it may be the enlargement of a simple hair follicle infection or the result of a hair penetrating the skin and causing an infection.
The following factors increase your chance of developing a pilonidal abscess:
Personal or family history of similar problems (eg,
, boils, carbuncles, folliculitis,
Large amounts of hair in the region
Horseback riding, cycling
If you experience these symptoms, they are due to a pilonidal abscess that needs to be treated by your doctor:
Painful swelling over your sacrum (just above your tailbone)
A foul smell or pus draining from that area
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. You will be referred to a surgeon for treatment. There are no diagnostic tests required.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. The choice of treatment will depend on the extent of the condition and your general overall health. Treatment options include:
As with all localized infections under the skin, hot water soaks will draw out the infection. This will not completely cure the condition, but it will help.
Incision and Drainage
The abscess is sliced, the pus drained, and the wound is packed with sterile gauze. This helps it heal from the inside out. But this usually does not cure the problem because abnormal tissue remains.
To completely cure the condition, all affected tissue needs to be removed. This is a more extensive surgical procedure than simple incision and drainage. The surgical wound may be closed with sutures or left open to heal from the inside.
Laser Hair Removal
There are recent reports that laser hair removal in the area may be effective treatment for pilonidal cysts.
Here are ways to reduce your chance of getting a pilonidal abscess:
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a