Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The initial treatment for an infected pilonidal cyst is usually a procedure that can be performed in your doctor's office. After numbing the area with an injection, your doctor makes a small incision to drain the cyst. If the cyst recurs, which often happens, you may need a more extensive surgical procedure that removes the cyst entirely.

After surgery, your doctor may choose to:

  • Leave the wound open. In this option, the surgical wound is left open and packed with dressing to allow it to heal from the inside out. This process results in a longer healing time but usually a lower risk of a recurring pilonidal cyst infection.
  • Close the wound with stitches. While the healing time is shorter with this option, there's a greater risk of recurrence. Some surgeons make the incision to the side of the cleft of the buttocks, where healing is particularly difficult.

Wound care is extremely important after surgery. Your doctor or nurse will give you detailed instructions on how to change dressings, what to expect of a normal healing process and when to call the doctor. You may also need to shave around the surgical site to prevent hairs from entering the wound.

Dec. 05, 2012