How does a pilonidal cyst form?

Pilonidal cysts are a common but often misunderstood condition that affects the skin, typically found near the tailbone at the top of the buttocks. They can cause discomfort, pain, and sometimes infection. One of the frequently asked questions about pilonidal cysts is whether they grow or spread within the skin. To understand this better, it’s essential to delve into the nature of these cysts and their behavior.

What is a Pilonidal Cyst?

A sac containing skin, hair, or other debris is called a pilonidal cyst. When hair follicles become irritated, inflamed, or infected, these cysts form. They can range in size from little and harmless to enormous and quite uncomfortable. Sinus tracts can occasionally be created by pilonidal cysts that create tunnels beneath the skin.

Growth Within the Skin

The majority of pilonidal cyst growth occurs in the skin. At the base of the spine, they may begin as a little, painless lump or indentation. The buildup of hair and other material can cause these cysts to enlarge over time. The cyst may become more obvious as it expands and may hurt or cause discomfort, particularly when sitting or moving.

Untreated pilonidal cysts might develop an infection. A cyst may grow, turn red, become tender, and secrete pus or blood if it is infected. Additionally, the infection may result in the development of abscesses, which are pus-filled pockets that exacerbate pain and agony.

Spread Within the Skin

Although pilonidal cysts usually develop within the skin, there are situations in which they can disseminate. Typically, the spread takes the shape of subcutaneously located sinus tracts or tunnels. Multiple paths can be created by these fibers branching out from the original cyst. The skin may develop new pits or openings as a result of this spreading.

Complications may arise from pilonidal cysts spreading through sinus systems. Because hair, dirt, and germs can collect inside these tunnels, it raises the possibility of recurring infections. Recurrent infections may lead to chronic inflammation and discomfort as well as further enlargement of the cysts.

Treatment Options

The size of the cyst, the existence of an infection, and the specific symptoms of each patient all affect how a pilonidal cyst is treated. Home treatments for mild cases could include using warm compresses or maintaining good hygiene to keep the area dry and clean. More serious situations or those with recurring illnesses, however, can call for medical attention.

Medical interventions range from more involved procedures like surgical removal to draining of the cyst or abscess in cases of infection. To stop recurrence, surgical procedures may include removing the entire cyst, including any sinus tracts.

How Do Physicians Treat a Pilonidal Sinus and What Is It?

A pilonidal sinus is a tiny tube or tunnel that develops beneath the skin and is typically caused by an infected pilonidal cyst. These sinuses or tubes may emerge from the cyst and form spaces underneath the epidermis. They frequently result in the pain and recurring infections that accompany pilonidal illness.

Formation of Pilonidal Sinus

Usually, a pilonidal cyst fills and empties itself repeatedly, creating pilonidal sinuses. These sinuses develop as a result of the cyst rupturing or leaking pus when it gets sick or large. These passageways can get clogged with hair, debris, and germs, which can cause chronic inflammation and recurring cyst formation.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Pilonidal sinuses can cause pain, edema, or redness in the affected area, as well as signs like pus or blood dripping from tiny skin openings close to the tailbone. A medical practitioner may frequently perform a physical examination to diagnose pilonidal sinuses. During this examination, they will likely look for these apertures and gauge the size of the sinus tracts.

Treatment Options

Typically, treating pilonidal sinuses entails taking care of the sinus tracts and the underlying cyst. The severity of the ailment and the patient’s symptoms determine the course of treatment. The following are typical methods for treating pilonidal sinuses:


To assist treat infections and lessen inflammation, physicians may recommend antibiotics in certain situations. Nevertheless, antibiotics might not be the only treatment that works for sinus tracts.

Incision and Drainage:

For acute infections or abscesses connected with the sinus tracts, a technique termed incision and drainage may be performed. This entails cutting a little opening to remove any pus or liquid from the affected region. Even though it can offer relief right away, it might not stop similar incidents in the future.

Surgical Excision:

In situations that are persistent or recurrent, surgery may be required to remove the pilonidal sinus tracts together with the afflicted tissue. In order to stop the cyst from returning, the entire cyst and any branching sinus tracts are removed during this treatment, which is called a pilonidal sinus excision.


In order to promote internal healing, this surgical approach entails making a fresh, open wound. Its goal is to maintain the wound open and let it heal gradually, therefore preventing the creation of new sinus tracts.

Post-Treatment Care

Good wound care and hygiene are essential after surgery or other therapies for pilonidal sinuses. To encourage healing and avoid infections, this entails keeping the area dry, clean, and changing the dressings on a regular basis.

The goal of pilonidal sinus surgery is to remove the afflicted cyst and sinus tracts, using drainage, excision, or other techniques as needed. Healthcare practitioners continue to disagree over the role hair removal plays in managing pilonidal illness after surgery.

Purpose of Hair Removal

After pilonidal sinus surgery, hair removal is primarily considered to lower the chance of recurrence. A common symptom of pileidal disease is the buildup of hair and debris in the afflicted area, which can result in infection, inflammation, and the development of cysts and sinus tracts.

Theoretically, shaving the surgical site of hair may lessen the likelihood that hair follicles may become stuck and restart the cycle of inflammation and cyst production. According to some surgeons, shaving the area hair-free can reduce the risk of problems and recurrence.

Methods of Hair Removal

Hair removal from the surgery site can be accomplished using a variety of techniques:


This is the easiest and fastest technique. Hair can be temporarily removed from the surgical site by shaving the surrounding area. Shaving does not eliminate hair follicles; rather, it merely removes hair from the skin’s surface, so it may not be an effective way to avoid recurrence.

Laser Hair Removal:

Targeting hair follicles, laser therapy is a longer-term approach that either slows down or stops the growth of new hair. Because fewer hair follicles remain in the damaged area over time, this approach may be useful in lowering the incidence of recurrent pilonidal illness.

Unlike shaving, waxing and depilatory creams remove hair from the root, yielding more durable results. Nevertheless, these techniques don’t always result in permanent hair reduction, and their frequency of hair removal varies.

Pilonidal Cyst Surgery Cost in USA

In the US, the price of surgery for a pilonidal cyst can vary greatly depending on a number of variables. These variables include the kind of operation carried out, the place of the procedure, the healthcare facility or provider selected, insurance coverage, and any additional services needed prior to, during, or following the surgery.

Factors Affecting Cost Type of Surgery:

The particular surgical technique utilized to treat a pilonidal cyst has a big impact on how much it ends up costing. When opposed to more intricate excision surgeries that involve the removal of the cyst and damaged tissue, simple incision and drainage techniques are usually less expensive.

Geographical Location:

The price of medical procedures might fluctuate significantly between US areas. Medical costs are typically greater in urban areas and in locations with higher cost of living.

Healthcare Provider and Facility:

Specialized clinics, hospitals, and outpatient surgery centers may have different costs. The total cost of the surgery may vary depending on the healthcare provider or facility selected.

Insurance Coverage:

The specifics of coverage have a big impact on what people have to pay out-of-pocket when they have health insurance. Surgical treatment coverage is subject to plan variation, and the total cost of care may be impacted by deductible, copayment, or coinsurance amounts.

Approximate Cost Range

The cost of surgery for a pilonidal cyst might vary greatly in the United States. Simple incision and drainage surgeries are examples of basic procedures that are typically less expensive than more involved excision surgeries. The intricacy of the procedure can affect the total cost, among other things.

Additional Expenses

Preoperative testing, anesthetic administration, postoperative care, follow-up appointments, drugs, dressings, and any potential complications that may occur after surgery are additional costs that may add to the total cost of pilonidal cyst surgery.

Insurance Coverage and Financing Options

The amount of money needed out of pocket for pilonidal cyst surgery can be greatly decreased by having health insurance. It is recommended that patients carefully read over their insurance policies to ascertain the specifics of coverage, such as deductibles, copayments, and any restrictions on paying for particular operations.

Dr. Kamrava: Your Expert in Pilonidal Surgery and Pilonidal Cyst Excision

Seeking relief from the discomfort of pilonidal cysts? Entrust your care to Dr. Kamrava, a leading expert specializing in pilonidal surgery and excision.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Kamrava today to discuss your concerns and explore tailored treatment options. Take the first step toward regaining comfort and confidence by choosing a specialist dedicated to your well-being.