Pilonidal Cyst Definition:- Sacs filled with hair and skin fragments that form at the end of the tail bone, at the top crease of the buttocks above the sacrum are called Pilonidal Cysts.
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A pilonidal cyst is an abnormal growth in the skin that usually contains hair and skin debris. It is located at the extreme end of the tail bone and at the top crease of the buttocks above the sacrum. It usually occurs when hair perforates the skin and gets embedded in it. The fluid filled sac which is formed can get infected and form an abscess which is often very painful.
It is more common in men than women and occurs at a young age.
30 people in every 100000 people face problems with Pilonidal cysts every year. It occurs predominantly in males who are in their late teens or early twenties. It rarely occurs at any age above 40 years. People who have a family history of Pilonidal cysts are at an increased risk of developing it.
Size of a Pilonidal Cyst
The size of these cysts can range anywhere from a few cm to inches. It can be as small as a pea and as large as a grape in size.
The extent and severity of symptoms depend from person to person. Some patients may be asymptomatic and the cyst can only be felt on touching it. It is when the cyst becomes infected, it starts showing signs and symptoms. Some of the symptoms that can be seen are:
The exact cause of these cysts is still not clear. However, some doctors believe that these cysts are present since the time of birth and arise from embryologic cells. They are caused by a combination of changing hormones, penetration of loose hair in the skin through dilation of hair follicles into the subcutaneous tissues. In response to the infiltrated hair, an inflammatory reaction causes a cyst like structure to form around the affected area and the skin debris.
In some cases, the cyst becomes infected and immediate hospitalization is required in such cases.
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What are the risk factors associated with Pilonidal cysts?
There are certain factors that make you more susceptible to developing pilonidal cysts. They are:
When to seek medical attention?
Some pilonidal cysts are asymptomatic in nature whereas some get infected and become very painful. They need to be drained in order to be treated. If symptoms become worse over a period of time, you must consult a doctor and seek medical attention immediately.
Pilonidal Cyst Complications
Some complications associated with Pilonidal cysts are:
A doctor can diagnose a pilonidal cyst by studying the patient’s medical and family history and performing physical examination. The doctor may look out for the following:
It is important to understand that antibiotics do not heal a pilonidal cyst. However, there are few procedures and treatments that can be used to treat them.
Incision and Drainage :- The most preferred technique for treating a pilonidal cyst is creating an incision and draining the cyst which included removing the hair follicles and debris that are a part of it. It is a very simple procedure that is done under the administration of local anaesthesia. Post-drainage, the treated area demand a lot of care which includes frequently changing the bandage until the cyst heals completely.
Marsupialization :- This procedure involves creating an incision, draining the pus, hair follicles and debris and sewing the edges of the fibrous tract to the edges of the wound to make a sac. This procedure minimizes the size and extent of the wound and requires at least six to eight weeks for the wound to heal completely.
Treatment of the infection :- If the cyst is severely infected, the doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics. However, this will not heal the wound completely but will give you relief from pain and infection.
Phenol Injection :- This procedure involves administration of local anesthesia first, followed by a phenol injection which acts as an antiseptic for the cyst. This procedure may need to be repeated several times, until the cyst abrasion becomes stiff and closes. The only disadvantage being that the rate of re-occurrence is high in this case.
There are several tried and tested home remedies that come handy in case of pilonidal cysts. Some of them are:
Check out these pictures of pilonidal cysts that will help you understand them better.
Pilonidal cyst location
Pilonidal cyst surgery
Closer look at a pilonidal cyst
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