Important Information About Pilonidal Cyst Drainage
You've been afflicted by a pilonidal cyst. Pain, inflammation and bleeding have become part of your daily life. Your poor backside can't go on like this. It's time for a trip to the doctor.
If this is your first experience with a pilonidal cyst, better referred to as a pilonidal sinus, your physician is likely to recommend a drainage procedure. This quick treatment can relieve the pressure and pain that you're experiencing.
Take a look at this overview of pilonidal cyst drainage so that you can show up at your doctor's appointment informed and ready for the procedure.
Reasons for Cyst Drainage
A pilonidal sinus is an opening in your skin that leads to a small pocket within the tissue. This cavity can collect debris like hair, dead skin cells and environmental dirt. Some of the oil secreted by your skin can end up in there as well.
This becomes an ideal place for bacteria to multiply, leading to an infection. Once a pilonidal sinus becomes infected, it turns into a pilonidal abscess.
As the infection takes hold, the abscess may become full of pus. This fluid is a mix of white blood cells, skin cells and germs.
The amount of pus may multiply more and more. This can place a great deal of pressure on the walls of the pilonidal sinus. As a result, you may notice increased pain and inflammation. If the pus goes away, you'll start to feel a lot better.
Sometimes a pilonidal infection will drain on its own. The pus may ooze out little by little, or the cyst may burst all at once. Waiting for the infection to drain by itself can be a slow process that leaves you feeling damp, uncomfortable and embarrassed. A pilonidal cyst that pops isn't preferable; it can be terribly messy, and the fluid that escapes is likely to have a foul smell.
Instead of leaving your cyst drainage up to chance like this, your doctor can use an in-office lancing procedure to clean out the cavity under controlled conditions.
Overview of a Drainage Procedure
Before draining your abscess, the doctor will perform an exam to confirm that you do, in fact, have a pilonidal sinus. Conditions like anal fistula and dorsal dermal sinuses can produce similar symptoms, so it's good to get an official diagnosis before beginning treatment.
If pilonidal cyst drainage is in order, the first step will be to prepare the area. A member of the medical staff will clean the site and inject it with a local anesthetic so you can't feel the procedure.
Once you're sufficiently numb, the doctor will make an incision in your skin. Blood and pus will drain out. Gently manipulating the tissue may be helpful for fully draining the cavity. The doctor may also use surgical tools to pluck debris out of the opening.
You won't need stitches afterward. Instead, the doctor will place gauze in the opening.
You can learn about gauze packing in this video:
What to Expect After Drainage
Unless otherwise instructed, take over-the-counter pain medication after your procedure. If your doctor prescribes a prescription pain reliever, take that instead.
Antibiotics aren't always given after cyst drainage. If your doctor does give you a prescription for oral or topical antibiotics, it's important to follow the dosing instructions and complete the full course of medication.
Be sure to follow all directions about wound care as well. You'll need to remove the original gauze packing after a few days. You may be instructed to repack the wound or to cover it with a bandage. Ask a friend or family member for help if you can't reach the spot well.
Once the first round of gauze has been removed, you'll need to wash the area daily. Your doctor might instruct you to allow warm water to flow over the surgical site or to use a cleansing formula that's designed for wound care. You can also ask your doctor about the option of resting your backside in a warm sitz bath each day.
It can take a while for the wound to heal — often one to four weeks. Keep up with all wound-care instructions during that time.
Followup for Repeated Infection
After a drainage procedure, there's a chance that you'll be done with this condition for good. Keeping the area clean, removing unwanted hair and staying active may help prevent a recurrence of the infection.
Unfortunately, cyst drainage may be only a short-term solution. Because the sinus tract remains in the tissue, it can become infected again. When that happens, a second drainage procedure may be a possibility. However, surgical removal of the pilonidal sinus may be a better, more effective option.
There are a number of procedures used for the excision or closure of a sinus tract. Some of these involve cutting the cyst and the surrounding tissue out of the body. Although excision is often successful at treating the condition, you'll be facing a more significant recovery time than you had with the drainage procedure.
Laser ablation is an alternative treatment to try. With this procedure, a neoV Laser is used to seal the sinus tract shut. This can be an effective means of preventing future pilonidal infections.
Drainage is usually the first medical invention to try in the treatment of pilonidal disease. Pilonidal cyst drainage is a quick in-office procedure that can ease the pain and pressure of an infected sinus. Recovery can take a few weeks, but the relief you'll feel may be worth it.
If you develop repeated infections, it may be time to move on from drainage procedures. Instead, talk to your doctor about ablation with the neoV Laser.
As with all medical issues, your physician is the ultimate source as to what procedure best fits your needs. Discuss all options and get a second opinion if you have any doubts. These articles are intended to be a source of general information only.