Pilonidal cyst is an abscess which usually appears on the area of the tailbone or between buttocks. Pilonidal cyst is typically a consequence of ingrown hair which got inflamed and infected. The cyst contains hair, skin debris and fluid, and it mostly affects young adult men. People who spend the most of the day sitting are prone to get pilonidal cyst. Other risk factors include excess perspiration, a lot of body hair, inappropriate hygiene and being overweight. Inflamed pilonidal cyst may cause pain, swelling, redness and warmth in the area where the cyst is. The cyst may also drain pus with foul odor or blood. In most severe cases, if the infection spreads through the body, pilonidal cyst may cause fever.
There are two most common surgical procedures used for removing pilonidal cyst. In open wound procedure, the cyst is removed and the wound is filled with dressing, so it can heal from the inside out. In some cases, the wound is left to heal without packing it with dressing. This procedure lasts for about 45 minutes and you will go home after several hours. After this procedure the risk of recurring of the cyst is significantly decreased. Another surgical procedure involves closed wound. After the cyst is removed, the wound is closed with stitches. This surgery also takes about 45 minutes and you can go home the same day. The recovery time is much shorter after closed wound procedure, but the chances for the cyst to appear again are increased.
The recovery time after open wound surgery takes about 8 weeks. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions how to change dressings and how to take care of the wound. It is recommended to avoid sitting during the first week of recovery. The recovery time after closed wound surgery is about 4 weeks and proper care of the wound is necessary. In both cases, you should shave the area around the wound to reduce the risk of hairs entering the cut.
Proper hygiene is very important if you want to prevent pilonidal cyst from recurring. After the wound is healed completely, you must clean the area every day. It is recommended to use glycerin soap because it will not cause irritation of the skin. Use a washcloth, gloves or a bath puff to exfoliate the skin. Keep the area dry and clean as much as possible. You can use powder, especially if you sweat a lot, but avoid ointments and creams which contain oil. Also try to make some lifestyle changes concerning prolonged sitting. You can relieve the pressure from the tailbone by sitting on cushions.