If you have a painful lump, bump, or cyst in the crease of your buttocks near your tailbone, it might be a pilonidal cyst. A pilonidal cyst often results from ingrown or impacted hair in the crease of your buttocks that can cause skin infection and inflammation. If it is left untreated, the cyst can grow into a pus-filled abscess. We will explain pilonidal disease symptoms, why you should not ignore them, and how to treat a cyst and get reliable results. Then, you can decide if pilonidal cyst surgery is worth it.
Symptoms of Pilonidal Disease
You may experience one or more of these signs and symptoms of pilonidal disease:
- A small painful bump or a large swollen area in the crease of your buttocks
- Tenderness around the area
- The sensation of a deep, tight pimple or knot
- Skin reddening around the area
- Pus or blood draining from a small opening in or near the cyst
- Foul-smelling fluid draining from the cyst
- Discomfort or pain when you walk or sit
- Lower back or tailbone pain
The signs and symptoms of pilonidal disease may cause anxiety, but should not be ignored.
Will Pilonidal Cysts Go Away on Their Own?
Pilonidal cysts do not go away on their own. Like many people, you might be embarrassed to talk about your symptoms and try to treat the cysts at home. Many people try one or more of these methods:
- Taking warm baths
- Applying a compress
- Removing the hair in or around the cyst
- Applying antibiotic ointment to the area
- Bursting or squeezing the cyst to drain it
- Taking over-the-counter pain medicine
Although these methods may temporarily relieve some of your discomforts, they do not remove the source of the problem—the infection beneath your skin.
If a pilonidal cyst is causing you pain, staining your underwear or sheets, or making it uncomfortable to sit, do not let it linger. According to an August 2020 article published by National Center for Biotechnology Information, pilonidal disease affects approximately 70,000 people in the United States each year. The report also notes that “prompt recognition and diagnosis can lead to faster treatment and resolution.”
During your consultation, one of our SuperGroup surgeons will identify whether you have pilonidal disease. They will further explain how pilonidal surgery can relieve your symptoms.
Pilonidal Cyst Surgery
Pilonidal cyst surgery is normally performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. Here is what you can expect:
Our operating room staff will take the following steps:
- You will be met in the pre-operative area by your nurse, surgeon and anesthesiologist.
- You will be brought to the operating room and given a general anesthetic
- The surgery is performed lying on your stomach
- The hair on your lower back and buttocks area will be trimmed
- Your skin will be disinfected
One of our surgeons will do the following:
- Numb the area
- Fully remove the cyst and all its contents as well as locally affected skin
- Use nearby healthy skin to cover the wound by advancing or rotating it into the vacated space
- Close the surgical site with stitches
Immediately after your pilonidal cyst surgery, our staff will:
- Take you to a recovery area
- Monitor you as the sedation wears off
- Give you post-operative instructions before your doctor discharges you into the care of a loved one.
Recovering from Pilonidal Cyst Surgery
Although each patient’s case is different, recovery after pilonidal cyst surgery takes about four weeks if one of our surgeons closes your surgical site with stitches. If the surgeon uses a technique that leaves the site open and packed with gauze due to a severe infection at the time of surgery, you will be most benefitted by undergoing a second stage surgery to bring healthy tissue into the wound to close it once the infection has cleared.
- First few days – Swelling and discomfort will peak and gradually improve. Follow your surgeon’s instructions for taking pain medication and keeping the wound clean and dry.
- Two to four weeks – Plan to rest and avoid manual work, exercise, and strenuous activities.
How to Sleep After Pilonidal Cyst Surgery
It is essential to get plenty of rest and sleep after pilonidal surgery. You can lie on your side or your stomach while sleeping but avoid sleeping on your back, straining, or irritating the surgical site.
- Sleeping on your side – Position pillows to increase your comfort and prevent curling up with your knees or rolling on your back. Some patients use an ergonomic pillow for side sleeping.
- Sleeping on your stomach – You can put a pillow under your abdomen to support your spine. If sleeping on your stomach is not comfortable or makes your back or hips hurt, sleep on your side.
Schedule a Pilonidal Cyst Consultation
If you are suffering from pain and discomfort and think you might have a pilonidal cyst—or if you know you have a cyst—this simple procedure can provide relief. Contact SuperGroup to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons.