Pilonidal cyst: cause and treatment

Dis Colon Rectum. 2000 Aug;43(8):1146-56. doi: 10.1007/BF02236564.


Purpose: The treatment of sacrococcygeal pilonidal cyst, despite being considered a well-defined clinical entity and opinion as to its acquired origin being almost unanimous, has some controversial aspects. Surgery is the principal method of treatment, and several techniques have been proposed. All of them try to reduce morbidity, to offer conditions of fast cicatrization, to have a low recurrence rate, and to offer cure. This study was undertaken to review the available data in the literature about the cause of the disease and to determine the current optimal method of treatment, evaluating morbidity, healing, recurrence, and cure.

Methods: Data available on the topic of pilonidal cyst in the English-language literature were obtained from Index Medicus and MEDLINE and were reviewed and analyzed.

Results: There is nearly a consensus that pilonidal cyst is acquired, hair being the agent that causes the disease. Presently, the most-used surgical procedure is excision of the cyst, with open or closed wound for healing. However, many authors prefer to use the method of incision and curettage. New surgical techniques are being proposed.

Conclusion: The majority of authors conclude that sacrococcygeal pilonidal cyst is an acquired disease, although a minority believe it is congenital. Although excision is the method of choice for most surgeons, in our experience the incision and curettage procedure is the best surgical treatment with regard to morbidity, healing, recurrence, and cure of the disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cicatrix
  • Hair
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Morbidity
  • Pilonidal Sinus / epidemiology
  • Pilonidal Sinus / etiology*
  • Pilonidal Sinus / surgery*
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome