Thank you for ‘giving our son his life back’

Dr. Sternberg is a PHENOMENAL surgeon with the highest credentials, tremendous experience with pilonidal disease, and a heart of gold for his patients. My son had suffered from pilonidal disease for 6 ½ years and had 4 previous failed surgeries. Three different surgeons (one operated on him twice) told us that the only means of healing a “pilonidal cyst” was open or closed excision. They collectively removed increasing amounts of internal gluteal tissue and each surgery took months to heal, would never remain healed, and the surgeons’ responses were always that the tract must not have been completely removed and that they needed to perform another surgery to remove more tissue. Not only did the procedures these surgeons employed not heal my son of pilonidal disease but, in fact, the surgeries created wounds that worsened his conditioned.

The purpose in leaving the wound unsutured in open excision is so that the wound is able to heal from the inside out. In the final two of my son’s open excision surgeries we paid for the aid of professional wound care centers to assure that happened. The wound care physicians could heal the wounds temporarily but they always reopened at the slightest provocation even after twenty-four 2 hour sessions in a hyperbaric chamber. My son lost the ability to play intramural sports in college, missed out on numerous social events while he was recovering from surgery and wounds were unhealed, experienced continual pain, and suffered from the embarrassment of draining wounds that stained his clothes. We finally began searching for an expert surgeon anywhere in the United States for pilonidal disease. We would have traveled anywhere in the world.

It was through that search that we found Dr. Sternberg, an expert in healing pilonidal disease. Dr. Sternberg gave us information that shed light on years’ worth of confusion, frustration, and heartache. He gave us a detailed description of pilonidal disease and its causes. He explained the cleft lift procedure that he performs thoroughly in words, text, and with photos and diagrams. He explained exactly what to expect after surgery and taught us in numerous ways how to care for our son’s surgical drain post-surgery. And Dr. Sternberg was communicative throughout the entire process. He called us before we flew to San Francisco, met with us the day before surgery, met with us the day of surgery both before and after, called us the evening of surgery to check on our son, and met with us the day after surgery to assure that we understood how to care for the surgical drain and to see that our son was doing well before we flew home, over 2,000 miles away.

None of our other surgeons had come close to offering this type of explanation, communication, and care. In addition, Dr. Sternberg remained available to answer any question that we had once we returned home. I realize now that not only did our son have physical wounds from pilonidal disease and 4 failed surgeries, but our family had emotional wounds from the suffering that the experience of 6 ½ years had brought. Through Dr. Sternberg’s knowledge of pilonidal disease, expertise in an effective surgical procedure to heal it, compassion in listening and responding to our many questions, and continued support throughout our son’s recovery, he has not just healed our son but he has healed our family. I am forever grateful for Dr. Sternberg who exemplifies in every possible measure all that is good in not only the health care profession but humanity as a whole. I truly cannot give him high enough praises.

As a mother who was the primary caregiver for a son who suffered with pilonidal disease for years, I implore you to seek his help. We flew from the East to the West Coast to see him and we are only sorry that we did not do it sooner. Thank you, Dr. Sternberg, for giving our son his life back!!

Submitted by Susan S.

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