SPECIALIST IN PILONIDAL DISEASE

Pilonidal Disease

Pilonidal disease is a skin problem occurring in the natal cleft region, which is the cleft between the buttocks at the base of your spine. A pilonidal sinus is a cavity in the skin surface, filled with hair. Occasionally it can become infected and a pilonidal abscess forms.

Pilonidal Disease

Pilonidal disease is a skin problem occurring in the natal cleft region, which is the cleft between the buttocks at the base of your spine. A pilonidal sinus is a cavity in the skin surface, filled with hair. Occasionally it can become infected and a pilonidal abscess forms.

Frequently Asked Questions

The exact cause is unclear, but some people are prone to problems with their hair follicles causing them to become damaged causing small openings or pits. Hair then gets into these openings and forms a nest of hairs at the base of the pit.  Bacteria can invade the openings, causing infections. Pilonidal disease can affect both men and women, usually under the age of 40, but hairy men are more prone to developing it. Other risk factors include a family history, obesity, poor hygiene and prolonged sitting or friction.

People often feel a lump at the base of the spine, which may feel tender after sitting for long periods of time. Other signs include:

  • Pain
  • Redness and swelling
  • Fluid / pus leakage
  • Fever or nausea if it becomes infected
  • If you look carefully you can see holes or openings in the area. They can various sizes but are often very small. They are called ‘pits’

Mr Michael Stellakis will perform a physical examination and rarely an MRI scan is requested.

If a pilonidal cyst is not causing any problems, then it usually doesn’t require treatment. However persistent or infected cysts may need to be drained. For some patients, the abscess cavity needs to be cut out completely. The cavity is cleared out and then the wound is either closed or left open to heal from the inside. There are also a number of newer, less invasive techniques.

Which method chosen depends on a number of factors and both methods have pros and cons. Mr Stellakis will discuss your options with you to help you chose the best option for you. See surgical treatments.