Why is writing about pilonidal cyst disease important?

Have you been diagnosed with a pilonidal problem (commonly referred to as a pilonidal cyst)?  Maybe your primary doctor or pediatrician told you that the swelling near your tailbone is a pilonidal cyst.  Maybe you were referred to a local surgeon.  If you are contemplating surgery, please educate yourself and choose your surgeon carefully.

Pilonidal disease/pilonidal cysts disease is a completely underappreciated problem.  Many doctors don’t understand the cause or the proper treatment.  Many surgeons try and avoid pilonidal disease altogether, and recommend shaving or wound care, both of which can waste time and delay treatment.   Some surgeons don’t want to operate as they’re afraid of dismal results.  You may have undergone an operation that failed – either the wound opened up or the problem recurred over time.  Pilonidal disease is a difficult problem – no arguments here! But, the wrong operation can set you back years and old fashion operations should be avoided. Individuals who have had failed pilonidal surgery may require daily wound care, sometimes wound vacs (which don’t work), and often there is no end in sight.  They may lose weeks, months, or even a year or more of active life.  A cleft lift procedure is the best choice and, in the right hands, should cure the problem.  

If you’re meeting with a surgeon who says that you have a pilonidal problem and need a large amount of tissue removed in order to eradicate the cyst (perhaps down to your tailbone) get out of dodge and find a surgeon who performs the cleft lift procedure.  Unfortunately, such surgeons are few and far between, as the cleft lift technique is difficult to learn and surgeons must be experienced in order to consistently tackle difficult primary or recurrent pilonidal problems.

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.

More on my Training and Experience