Have you ever heard of a pilonidal cyst (really should be termed pilonidal disease as it’s just an infection and is not caused by a cyst) until you or a loved one were diagnosed with one? The prevalence of pilonidal cysts in the population is reported as low (<< 1% of the population at large), but there is much recent evidence that the prevalence in young people (particularly males) is 3-5-8% (the latter in a study of Turkish soldiers). In addition, the physical and emotional trauma that is caused by pilonidal disease can be tremendous. Some young people have frequent discomfort and drainage. Others have a series of failed operations and endure weeks, months, even years of wound care with frequent trips to wound clinics. The most unfortunate of pilonidal sufferers miss prolonged periods of work or school, some even being home schooled.
This has got to stop as there are good, reliable cures and treatments.
Some important truths:
- Drainage procedures (I & Ds) should not be painful and should lead to rapid relief of discomfort.
- Non-operative or watchful waiting as it is called, is appropriate for mild cases of pilonidal disease as some of these cases resolve with time. For more severe cases or for pilonidal sinuses (when an opening develops above the buttock cleft and intermittently drains), operative treatment is the most appropriate treatment plan as these won’t resolve without surgical intervention.
- Procedures where a large amount of tissue is removed and either left open or closed are out-moded. Don’t allow this to be done to you.
- The Cleft Lift Procedure is the most appropriate surgical procedure for treating pilonidal disease.
- The Cleft Lift Procedure is best performed by an experienced pilonidal surgeon, and it may be necessary to travel to have the right procedure performed by the right surgeon.
- Don’t have an operation that doesn’t sound right to you just because it can be done by a local surgeon.
- Choose to have the right operation the first time you have surgery so that you don’t go down the dark path of failed pilonidal operations.
Dealing with a pilonidal problem can seem daunting. Please do your research and seek the best treatment possible by the most experienced surgeon you feel comfortable with. If travel is involved it’s going to be worth it.
Meet Your Surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg
After many years performing major abdominal operations including open and laparoscopic resections for colon cancer, rectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative colitis, I have chosen to concentrate my efforts in a few highly specialized areas of surgery where I feel I can make the greatest positive impact on patients.
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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.
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Member of ASCRS, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation,
American College of Surgeons, and Pilonidal Support Alliance