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Effective Treatments for Your Pilonidal Cyst

Effective Treatments for Your Pilonidal Cyst

Pilonidal cysts are a very common problem, especially for men 20-35 years of age. They occur when an abscess forms in the upper crease of the buttocks, near the tailbone. This makes them incredibly painful, especially when sitting down. But only around 70,000 cases get reported each year, because people often feel too embarrassed to talk about them — even with their doctors.

Scott A. deVilleneuve, MD, at Surgical Associates of North Texas doesn’t want embarrassment or fear to keep you from getting the help you need if you think you have a pilonidal cyst. He offers numerous treatment options at his practice in McKinney, Texas, and many only require a quick office visit.

Here are a few signs you have a pilonidal cyst and how Dr. deVilleneuve can help.

Recognizing pilonidal cysts

As we mentioned earlier, these pockets of tissue typically form near the tailbone. They can be alarming, but you don’t have to worry, because they’re not life-threatening or contagious. 

Instead, pilonidal cysts form when hair gets embedded in the skin. This seemingly minor issue causes the body to react to protect itself, which leads to thickening skin and infection in the affected area.

Additional signs of a pilonidal cyst include:

Anyone can develop a pilonidal cyst, but they’re most common in people with thick or excessive body hair, sedentary lifestyles, or professions that require prolonged sitting. Wearing tight clothing and being overweight or obese can also increase your chances of developing this condition.

If you suspect you have a pilonidal cyst, it’s important to receive expert care. Without treatment, these cysts can cause abscesses as well as empty spaces underneath the skin, known as sinus cavities.

Treating pilonidal cysts

Dr. deVilleneuve can diagnose a pilonidal cyst during a routine office visit. Your treatment plan depends on the severity of your condition, but will most often start with oral antibiotic therapy.  This is often sufficient to improve the symptoms enough that actual surgery is not needed.  If not successful, then surgical options are considered.

Dr. deVilleneuve typically uses two different approaches depending on the acute severity of your disease.  If the site is actively infected and/or abscessed, then a simple incision into the area allowing it to drain is the first step.  Sometimes this single procedure is all that is needed, and if there is a recurrence of disease it can then be treated with just antibiotics.

If your process is more chronic or ongoing in nature, then a full excision of the area might be needed.  This is done in the operating room under general anesthesia as an outpatient or day surgery procedure.  This involves removing the skin overlying the areas in question and then excising the cyst and any affected surrounding tissue.  Once this is completed, the incision is closed, usually over a drain, to help speed up the recovery process.  Unless the area involved is severely abscessed or infected at the time of surgery, the wound will not be left open nor will it require packing or other extensive wound care measures.

With either surgical option, caring for the surgical site is essential during your recovery. Dr. deVilleneuve can provide guidance on how to change the dressing and what to expect while you heal. He can also make personalized suggestions to help you avoid more pilonidal cysts in the future.

Have you noticed a bump or lump near your tailbone? Don’t let embarrassment keep you from getting treatment. To learn more, call 972-525-0245 or book an appointment online with Surgical Associates of North Texas today.

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