‘Our daughter smiling again and the pain gradually subsiding’

Our daughter experienced back pain a few years ago, and we thought that it was a pilonidal cyst. There were several reasons for this. First, we had experiences in our family with a cyst that was successfully removed. Second, the surgeons we consulted thought it was a cyst as well. It had looked like a bump at the base of her spine. Three surgeries later and we were struggling with wondering if our daughter would ever be able to experience a pain-free life.

The first surgery was complete and the surgeon thought it would be successful. The area started getting infected and they put a material on it to prevent from growing, which didn’t work. She had to go for treatments every week to treat the area. So the surgeon tried again, and explained that he was very confident that it would work this time. Well, it didn’t. Same result. So he recommended that a plastic surgeon look at her and perform an additional surgery. We were encouraged at this point but perhaps we should have asked if there was maybe something unique about her case. The plastic surgeon performed the surgery and told us to cross our fingers and that she felt good about this outcome. Well, the same thing happened.

At this point we were frustrated and desperate. We googled “pilonidal cyst” and were surprised to see another thing referenced called pilonidal disease and that there were specialists in a few areas of the country. We researched his website and read the other stories and found a common thread. Surgeons are treating each pilonidal case like ones that have worked previously or that were cysts. They think it is a pilonidal cyst and there is a deeper problem and the same technique of extracting the cyst is not effective in all cases. So a small group of doctors have recognized the problem and enhanced a technique called a cleft lift and are helping people across the country.

One surgeon we found has perfected a technique called a cleft lift. We asked our plastic surgeon and were told the cleft lift is often not performed on minors in our home state of Arizona. We found a few across the country that do work on minors. We picked the closest one to start, which also happened to be the best based on our experience and research. The Sternberg Clinic in San Francisco. There has been a proven track record of performing this surgery and it has worked at basically 100% with almost negligible reoccurrence and even in those cases was fixed on the second try.

COVID happened last year and delayed the surgery, but an opening came up in the Fall and my daughter was able to go to San Francisco. Dr. Sternberg and his team treated her very well and so far everything has started to turn. A successful surgery. Our daughter smiling again and the pain gradually subsiding. So, this is our short story. We would recommend Dr. Sternberg to anyone having this problem. Our advice to others would be this: Do the research if the first surgery is not successful. If the first surgery is unsuccessful, seek advice and counsel from Dr. Sternberg and his team before trying again with the same surgeon. Get your life back. Thank you.

– Sean and Melina, for our daughter Keira

Patient Testimonials: The Blog

Read success stories from surgery patients


Contact our San Francisco Office

To learn more about treating your Pilonidal Disease with surgery and the Cleft Lift procedure, contact our office staff for information or to schedule an appointment.

Did Dr. Sternberg treat your pilonidal disease? Submit a Patient Testimonial

Appointment Hours

MonFriday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Weekends: Closed

Featured in

The Sternberg Clinic Top Doctor

Member of ASCRS, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation,
American College of Surgeons, and Pilonidal Support Alliance

Leave a Reply