Pilonidal
Sinus

Surgery for Pilonidal Sinus

There are a number of surgical procedures to drain, remove and treat an infected pilonidal sinus cyst.

A pilonidal sinus, also known as a pilonidal cyst, pilonidal abscess and pilonidal disease, is a pimple-like sac filled with hair and skin debris that forms in the crease between your buttocks, near your tailbone.

What is surgery for pilonidal sinus?

The type of surgery for an infected pilonidal sinus will depend on your symptoms, the size of your pilonidal sinus, and whether it is your first sinus or it keeps reoccurring. A pilonidal sinus abscess will need treatment with antibiotics.

First pilonidal sinus surgery:

  • Incision and drainage - a minor day procedure performed under local or sometimes general anaesthetic that is typically used for a first pilonidal cyst. Your doctor makes a small cut into your pilonidal sinus to drain the pus and remove any hair follicles.

For recurrent infections of your pilonidal sinus, you may be recommended one of the following pilonidal sinus day surgeries:

  • Wide excision and open healing – surgery is performed under general anaesthetic. Your surgeon surgically cuts out the infected sinus along a section of surrounding skin. Your wound is left open and dressings applied. This surgery has the lowest risk of your sinus coming back. The downside is that your wound may take a long time to heal and your dressings will need to be changed daily for two to three months.
  • Excision and wound closure – surgery is performed under general anaesthetic. Your surgeon surgically removes your affected sinus with the surrounding skin and then closes the wound using a flap of your own skin and seals it with stitches Closing the wound helps it to heal quicker but it has a higher chance of reinfection compared to wide excision.
  • Endoscopic ablation for a pilonidal sinus – the least invasive surgery, as no cuts are needed, that is performed under local or spinal anaesthetic. Your surgeon uses an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end) to see your affected pilonidal sinus. Hair and infected tissue are removed using tiny forceps, and your pilonidal sinus is cleaned with a special solution. Heat then seals your pilonidal sinus.

How long does pilonidal sinus surgery take?

All methods of pilonidal sinus surgery are day surgeries so you can go home the same day. You can expect surgery to take between 30 and 45 minutes.

Is surgery necessary for pilonidal sinus?

A pilonidal sinus that shows no signs of infection does not need treatment. You will be advised to watch it and wait and see if it develops any symptoms.

An infected pilonidal sinus needs treatment. If it is your first pilonidal abscess you will be given antibiotics and recommended to have your pilonidal sinus drained. Day surgery is needed for chronic conditions such as when a pilonidal sinus keeps coming back.

Your doctor will discuss your options and the best treatment for your pilonidal sinus with you.

What is the recovery process after surgery for pilonidal sinus?

The recovery process will depend on the type of pilonidal sinus surgery you have.

  • Incision and drainage - recovery time is 4 to 6 weeks
  • Wide excision and open healing - recovery time is 6 to 12 weeks. Your wound dressing will need to be changed each day.
  • Excision and wound closure - quicker recovery time than wide excision and open healing
  • Endoscopic ablation for a pilonidal sinus – recovery will be about a month to completely heal, but this may be quicker.

A follow-up appointment will be arranged for you to check on your recovery after your pilonidal surgery.

What is the cost of surgery for pilonidal sinus?

The cost of a pilonidal sinus surgery will depend on the exact type of surgery you require and your Ramsay hospital of choice.

This is a guide package price that estimates the costs of your procedure.

You will receive a formal quotation price following your consultation with one of our expert surgeons. This formal quote for your pilonidal sinus surgery will be valid for 60 days and includes unlimited aftercare.

Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. Pilonidal sinus surgery is covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before starting your treatment.

We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your pilonidal sinus surgery yourself. These include:

  • Interest-free finance – 0% interest, no deposit and affordable monthly instalments.
  • All-inclusive Total Care - one-off pre-agreed payment for access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance.
  • Pay as you go – flexible funding to pay for treatment as and when costs arise. Often used if your treatment costs are difficult to assess.

Surgery for Pilonidal Sinus at Ramsay Health Care UK

Ramsay Health Care UK is proud to provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

We offer the latest and recommended techniques for pilonidal sinus surgery. We work alongside expert consultants who will guide and advise you on the best treatment option for your pilonidal abscess.

Ramsay offer convenient appointments without waiting so you can arrange your pilonidal sinus surgery as soon as possible to treat painful, bleeding and leaking discharge symptoms of a pilonidal sinus.

At Ramsay Health Care UK, the safety of our patients, staff and consultants is our absolute priority. All of our hospitals follow strict infection control and prevention protocols to minimise the risk of any infection, including COVID-19.

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