The sacral pilonidal cyst is a prevalent disease, with a higher incidence in young men between 15 and 30 years old and rare in men over 40. In women, it is less frequent; the ratio is one woman for every four men. The term, in Latin, means “nest of hair” and refers to the hairs found within a cyst that forms mainly near the tailbone.
This condition often begins with a small lump on the skin that is asymptomatic, but it can become painful and difficult to heal when infected. The recommended treatment always involves eliminating the cyst, and the faster it is done, the faster the recovery will be.
If the cyst has grown and the infection has increased or has reappeared after the first drainage, it will no longer be enough to drain the abscess; it will be necessary to perform surgery to remove a larger area of tissue. Generally, after any of these procedures, some care and rest are required. At FastlyHeal, we recommend recovering from a pilonidal or sacral cyst operation.
Table of Contents
What is a pilonidal or sacral cyst?
The origin of the pilonidal cyst has not been fully elucidated. Previously it was believed that it was due to a remnant of embryonic tissue that remained in the subcutaneous region due to a malformation. But a high number of cases of soldiers during World War II led doctors to look in another direction. Today these cysts are thought to form when hairs become embedded in the skin, causing an inflammatory reaction in the area that can later become infected and turn into an abscess.
Some factors, such as friction and pressure on the sacrococcygeal area (from sitting or riding a bicycle for long periods or wearing tight clothing), can favor the appearance of pilonidal cysts. Other factors that predispose the formation of this condition are:
- The obesity.
- Excess hair in the coccyx area.
- Have a deep crease between the buttocks.
In the case of the soldiers, the high incidence of a pilonidal cyst is attributed to the long hours they spent sitting in the jeeps traveling over rough terrain, which probably caused slight trauma to the skin of the coccyx. In addition, indeed, the hygiene conditions were not optimal.
The pilonidal cyst is a cavity that occurs from the incrustation of hair in the skin. Usually, this happens between the buttocks, 4 to 5 cm above the anus. It can also appear in other areas, such as the navel, armpit, or scalp. The affected area looks like a pore with a dark spot or tangle of hair. Under this guise, the disease can go unnoticed for a time. But if it becomes infected, it can produce a very annoying and painful abscess.
The disease becomes severe in 50% of patients and rapidly forms an abscess. In the other 50% of those affected, the disease tends to become chronic with constant purulent drainage. This can lead, in rare cases, to skin cancer. When the cyst becomes an abscess, it produces:
- Sharp pain
- Pus and blood discharge.
Pilonidal cyst operation
Treatment for pilonidal cyst depends on the time of diagnosis:
- If it is discovered when it is just forming, it will only require a minor procedure to remove the embedded hair.
- But as the cyst develops and becomes infected, the treatment becomes more complicated. In no case will the administration of antibiotics be sufficient. What is done is to intervene directly on the abscess.
Sacral pilonidal cyst operation
In the first instance, the treatment consists of draining the abscess after making an incision. It is a simple procedure carried out in the doctor’s office with a local anesthetic to numb the skin. After the incision and drainage are made, the space is filled with gauze, which will allow it to continue draining. The gauze should be changed daily. Recovery from this procedure can take up to four weeks.
The recommended treatment is a pilonidal cystectomy for a huge abscess or a recurrence after a first drain. This consists of outpatient microsurgery that can be done under general or local anesthesia. The intervention aims to remove the skin and the underlying tissue with the hair follicles, removing the entire cyst so that it does not reappear. It is currently performed with a scalpel but also with a laser, a technique that at the same time cauterizes the area and facilitates healing.
Once the tissue section is removed, a tube or gauze can be placed to continue draining the abscess. Most of the time, the wound is not sutured so that as the infection heals, it closes naturally or by secondary intention, as it is said in medical terms. After surgery, you must be very attentive to postoperative care to avoid other infections. Recovery from the pilonidal cyst operation is vital so that there are no recurrences.
Recovery from pilonidal cyst operation
Postoperative care is the most important thing for a smooth recovery. Before performing the procedure, this should be a specific topic of conversation with your doctor or nurse to take all the necessary precautions when returning home. The rate of healing will mark a return to regular activities. Usually, the recovery period for the operation can be extended up to 60 days.
Once the pilonidal cyst operation is over, it will be essential to maintain specific care, such as those mentioned below:
- The patient should take a daily shower and wash the wound twice a day. When you still feel a lot of pain during the first week, only warm water is recommended for washing. In the second week, you should also use soap to eliminate the healing cells.
- This intervention can leave a wound of considerable dimensions, which will need to heal daily, changing the dressing after each shower. The most important thing is to keep the damage clean and dry every time. Cleaning and changing gauze is a procedure that can be performed by the same patient or a relative under the weekly supervision of the surgeon. If the wound has stitches, these will be removed by the surgeon 7 to 14 days after surgery.
- It is unnecessary to rest in bed, but it is essential not to spend a lot of time sitting. As far as possible, it is recommended to make small tours inside and outside the house from the first moment. Within the limitations of each patient, everyday life should be resumed as soon as possible. It is recommended to do it from the first week, and perhaps you can return to work two to three weeks after the operation, as long as you do not need to sit for eight hours.
- It is usual for the patient to feel pain for the first few days. To do this, you can take pain relievers prescribed by your doctor, always avoiding those that contain acetylsalicylic acid or aspirin.
- Before the intervention, this area should be free of hair and should be kept that way until the Recovery is complete. It is convenient always to keep it shaved to prevent the problem from reappearing.
- As in any postoperative period, it is advisable to have good eating habits and consume foods that promote healing. In addition, the consumption of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages should be avoided.
In the case of people with diabetes or with a condition that prevents them from healing quickly, hygiene is even more critical after pilonidal cyst surgery, and more excellent care may be necessary. About half of the patients who have surgery to remove the cyst the first time have it again, and it can even reappear a third time.
Some of the warning signs after the operation that should make us call the doctor immediately are:
- The bleeding is very profuse.
- Increases body temperature.
- The pain becomes unbearable even with medications.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Recovery from pilonidal or sacral cyst operation , we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.