How are pilonidal cysts treated?

If the pilonidal cyst contains infected material or pus, it is important to release the fluid by making a small opening in the cyst. This is done after first making the area numb using Novocain-type local anesthesia. Once the fluid is released, the pain rapidly disappears. Antibiotics usually are unnecessary after the fluid is drained.

In many cases, this is all that is necessary, and the problem does not recur. If the cyst becomes infected over and over, and does not go away on its own, then surgery may be advisable to remove the cyst. Such surgery must be done in an operating room but can usually be done as outpatient surgery, allowing the patient to return home an hour or two after the procedure is completed. There usually is little postoperative pain, and most people can return to work within the next day or two.

Most people are free of further problems with pilonidal cysts after drainage alone or after surgical removal of the cyst. However, in some cases, even after surgery, the cyst can come back. The reasons for this are not known; a new cyst can form from an ingrown hair, or it is possible to have another congenital cyst flare up at a later time. When this happens, surgery can again be done, again as an outpatient, with the exact nature of the procedure dictated by the nature of the recurrence.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.