A pilonidal cyst is a common condition but it is not serious. However, it is best to get treated as it might become infected and lead to other conditions. This condition usually occurs in the crease of the buttocks. It occurs under the skin and looks like a bump. The cyst forms in the shape of a sac and are filled with hair and debris. This condition causes swelling and pain, and might even form abscesses. Various treatment options are available for this cyst however if the cyst manifests advanced symptoms then pilonidal cyst excision is the most effective in getting rid of this condition.
The cyst if left untreated might continue to grow in size and might be filled with pus when it gets infected. This condition might cause a lot of discomfort among those suffering from it. Many people find it embarrassing to even discuss with their healthcare providers. The symptoms might be so uncomfortable that it might cause obstruction in your day-to-day activities. Recurrence of pilonidal cyst even after surgical removal is unavoidable.
Depending on the severity of the condition, your healthcare provider will recommend various treatment options. If the cyst is mild then sitz baths, antibiotics, and warm compress might be helpful but in case of severe condition, surgery is the only option. Usually, there are two procedures that are used for pilonidal cyst treatment namely:
Incision and Drainage –
In this procedure, the health professional will cut through the cyst and drain the debris from the cyst. This procedure is generally recommended if the infection is mild and you are going for the cyst treatment for the first time. It is an effective treatment and has been successful in about 60 percent of the cases. To avoid the recurrence of the cyst and prevent infection, the health providers will advise you to be careful with hair removal procedures such as waxing, laser hair removal, or shaving.
Surgical Pilonidal Cyst Excision –
This procedure is also known as a cystectomy. In this procedure, the cyst, as well as the tissue surrounding the cyst, is also removed. This procedure is often recommended in the case of cyst recurrence. This treatment is effective if the condition is severe and if there are multiple cysts in the area. It is one of the latest techniques for treating pilonidal cysts. There are also various other minimally invasive surgical treatments available.
Risk Factors Associated with these Procedures
As far as the incision and drainage procedure is concerned except for pain there are rarely any serious complications involved. With pilonidal cyst excision, it leaves behind a scar that tends to diminish and becomes less noticeable with time. However, there are definitely the chances of infection. The following are some of the signs of infection that you must be aware of:
- Discharge of pus
- Tender to touch
- Warm to the touch
- Other potential complications
- Slow healing process
- Recurrence of cyst
- The build-up of fluid in the area
Since there are high chances for the cyst to recur even after treatment, the need for you to get more than one procedure to altogether remove the cyst might be required.
What to Expect From the Procedures?
Incision and drainage procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia and is a simple procedure that does not require you to be admitted to the hospital. It helps in reducing the inflammation and pain caused by the cyst. You might develop a sore after the procedure so it would be good if you bring along someone that can help you get home. Unless an infection has developed around the area, you do need to take any antibiotics after this procedure.
Surgical cyst excision is a more complex procedure compared to the incision and drainage procedure. It involves the complete removal of the cyst along with the tissue surrounding it. But it is an effective procedure that helps you get rid of the cyst. Although it is performed under general anesthesia and takes about 45 minutes or so, you will be discharged soon after.
How Soon Can You Recover Post Pilonidal Cyst Surgery?
How long it takes to recover from the surgery will depend on the type of surgical procedure adopted, that is, whether the wound was left often to heal or was it closed with stitches. To completely heal, it might take anywhere between a month to 3 months. In most cases, people are able to go back to their daily activities within a month. Also depending on whether you need to change the dressing of the wound or remove the sutures, you might need a follow-up appointment. It is quite normal to experience some pain and tenderness during the recovery period.
Risk of Recurring Cyst
Even after the successful removal of the cyst, there is a high chance for the cyst to come back. It is mainly because the area where the cyst was might get infected again and leading to the development of the cyst. Following are some of the ways that can help you to prevent the recurrences of pilonidal cyst.
- Ensure to adhere to the instructions recommended by the health provider post surgery.
- Ensure that area is clean. Shaving the area or using hair removal products are recommended.
- Never miss the follow-up appointments
- Laser hair removal procedures, waxing, or shaving might be helpful in the prevention of cyst recurrence.
Pilonidal cysts may not be a serious health condition but they can affect your interpersonal relationships, and social activity and even cause pain and discomfort. However, most people tend to hold back when it comes to considering the surgical removal option as they are concerned about the recovery period. Now, this can be easily sorted out with a thorough discussion with your healthcare provider. If you want to opt for an easy treatment procedure with less recovery time then an incision and drainage procedure might be the best for you. However, there is the risk of getting back the cyst. Otherwise, the Surgical cyst excision is the best option available.