Pilonidal Cyst Disease FAQ’s - Houston Colon – Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery

Pilonidal Cyst Disease FAQ’s

May 16, 2011

What is a pilonidal cyst?

A pilonidal cyst is a cyst containing hair and skin debris. The cyst develops along the tailbone near the left buttocks.

What causes a pilonidal cyst?

Pilonidal cysts are formed when loose hairs penetrate the skin. The body reacts to this by forming a cyst around the hair. If there is repeated pressure or trauma to the area can predispose patients to either develop a pilonidal cyst or further irritate one that has already formed. Men are more prone to developing pilonidalcysts than women. Obese individuals are also more likely to have this type of cyst. It is common for pilonidal cysts to reoccur.

How do I know if I have a pilonidal cyst?

This type of cyst can be asymptomatic (without symptoms) for some patients while other patients may have a cyst that develops an infection which can cause pain and inflammation.  The symptoms of this type of cyst are the following:

  1. Warm skin
  2. Reddening of the skin
  3. Pus draining from an opening in the skin above the lower spine
  4. Reddening of the skin
  5. Pain above the lower spine
  6. Swelling above the lower spine
  7. Fever (though this is uncommon)

Though it is a rare occurrence, pilonidal cysts can develop on other parts of the body besides along the tailbone, such as on the hands.

If you have any of the above symptoms you should see your colorectal surgeon in Houston. Your doctor can come to a diagnosis by your symptoms and a physical exam.

Are there complications that go along with a pilonidal cyst?

As mentioned before, the most common complication of a pilonidal cyst in Houston is the recurrence of said cyst. An abscess may form and an infection can develop. Skin cancer may also develop within the cyst, though it is rare.

How is a pilonidal cyst treated?

Your Houston colorectal surgeon will make an incision in the cyst and drain it. This procedure is usually done within your doctor’s office. Sometimes it does take place in an emergency room. You will be given an anesthetic and your physician will drain the pus and clean out any hair and other matter from the wound. Though pain medication is usually prescribed, unless you develop an infection antibiotics are not needed. If you have a more invasive type of pilonidal cyst, then your colorectal surgeon may need to operate.

Make sure you follow up with your physician and do proper wound care at home. Be careful to keep the wound area clean, dry and to remove any hair from the area to help prevent a recurrence of the cyst.

What can I do to help prevent a pilonidal cyst?

Keeping up with personal hygiene is imperative to prevent the development of pilonidal cysts. You should shave any hair from the area or use depilatory cream to remove hair. Keeping the area dry and clean also needs to be a priority. Try not to sit too long in one place or have repeated pressure to the area. If you are overweight, it would be greatly beneficial, not just to prevent pilonidal cysts but also your overall health, to lose weight. This aids in decreasing the risk of recurrence of the cyst.
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See your Houston colorectal surgeons at Colorectal Surgical Associates to diagnose and remove pilonidal cysts, as well as many other colorectal disorders and diseases.  The use of advanced techniques in laparoscopic surgery enable these colorectal surgeons in Houston to provide optimum results and minimum side-effects when performing colon cancer surgery.