At the Pilonidal Cyst Center of Excellence in Los Angeles, one of our biggest focuses is patient education. Many people have questions about pilonidal abscesses, but don’t have a credible source of information.
If you have any questions regarding pilonidal cysts or our FAQ below, please contact our facility at 888.397.7135 or visit the pilonidal cyst page on MedicineNet. You can schedule a consultation with a member of our expert team of colorectal surgeons who will be able to answer any questions you may have.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a pilonidal cyst?
A: A pilonidal cyst (also known as a pilonidal abscess or a sacrococcygeal fistula) is an abnormal growth on the tailbone or coccyx that is susceptible to becoming infected and filling with pus.
Q: Are cysts common?
A: No, they are not. People have a .026% chance of getting a pilonidal cyst (26 out of 100,000). However, the disorder can be debilitating for those who do suffer from it.
Q: What causes a tailbone abscess?
A: Although there is some disagreement about the causes of cysts and abscesses, most doctors agree that they stem from hairs becoming impacted beneath the skin. The body treats these hairs as foreign objects and attacks them as it would any other infection. Over time, this creates a cyst.
Q: What are the symptoms of this condition?
A: Pain is the most common symptom that patients experience. Other symptoms of pilonidal cysts include swelling, pus, redness, and, in some cases, fever.
Q: What kinds of complications can occur??
A: The most common complication is infection. Once infected, a cyst is referred to as a pilonidal abscess. Patients who undergo surgery must be careful to keep the area clean and regularly change the dressings to assist it in healing.
Q: Are there certain factors that make people more or less susceptible to having a cyst?
A: Cysts and abscesses are more common in younger individuals and in men.
A: Although there a few home remedies to treat cysts, if you can, patients should see an experienced colorectal specialist. Visiting a trained professional guarantees the highest level of care while minimizing the likelihood of recurrence.
Q: Is surgery the only treatment or can I take antibiotics instead?
A: Unfortunately, a cyst will not go away with an antibiotic alone and may require surgery to completely remove.
Q: What are common treatments?
A: There are a number of treatments for pilonidal abscesses. The first treatment a patient will undergo usually involves lancing the cyst, or puncturing and draining it. If the abscess reoccurs, surgery may be necessary. There are a number of surgical outpatient procedures available that are tailored to each individual cyst.
Q: How long do procedures usually take?
A: The procedure for removing a tailbone abscess normally doesn’t last for more than an hour.
Q: Will I have to stay in the hospital while I recover or can I go home?
A: Previously, these were hospital based procedures. However, modern techniques have transitioned the surgeries into outpatient centers, allowing patients to go home the very same day as their surgery.
Q: How long does the recovery process usually take?
A: Recovery from pilonidal cyst surgery depends on the extent of treatment and lasts between one and eight weeks.
Q: What can I do to ensure a full recovery?
A: No matter which procedure you have undergone, it’s important to keep the area clean. You can also take regular sitz baths to soak the area in warm water. If your procedure requires you to pack the wound with gauze, be sure to regularly re-pack the area with clean gauze. Also, try not to lift any heavy objects in the weeks following the surgery
Q: What are common complications associated with treatment?
A: The most common complications are infection of the wound and recurrence. There is no standard rate, as these rates vary depending on which procedure is ultimately utilized. Ensure to ask your specialist what the rates of the infection and recurrence are for the procedure they are recommending for you.
Q: What can I do to ensure that my cyst doesn’t recur?
A: Follow your doctor’s instructions and keep the area clean. It can help to remove hair around the tailbone, decreasing the likelihood that any hair follicles will become embedded again.
Q: What happens if a cyst reoccurs?
A: Most of the time, patients will have to undergo pilonidal removal surgery again.
Q: Are there any signs I should be aware of?
A: Patients should check their tailbone area in order to ensure a cyst isn’t developing again. Be aware of sudden swelling, redness and pain.
Q: How large can a cyst become?
A: Cysts vary in size and can be as small as a penny, or can be significantly larger. Often times, the portion of the cyst beneath the skin is far larger than what is visible. Cyst cavities 6 cm or larger in length are common.
Q: How can I prevent an abscess from occurring in the first place?
A: Abscesses occur because of hair follicles that have been pushed back under the skin. One of the most immediate ways a patient can decrease his chance of a pilonidal cyst is by removing hair in the lower back region by shaving or using laser hair removal.
Contact Our Abscess Experts Today
If you or someone you know is suffering from pilonidal cysts, we encourage you to contact the Pilonidal Cyst Center of Excellence at 888.397.7135. You can schedule a consultation or appointment with the best colorectal surgical team in Los Angeles.
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