Pilonidal sinus disease

J Visc Surg. 2013 Sep;150(4):237-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jviscsurg.2013.05.006. Epub 2013 Aug 1.


Pilonidal disease is a frequent suppurative condition that occurs twice as often in men as in women, usually between the ages of 15 and 30. Pilonidal disease is located beneath the skin of the sacro-coccygeal region. It presents acutely as an abscess under tension while the chronic form gives rise to intermittent discharge from pilonidal sinus(es). Diagnosis is clinical and usually straightforward. In the large majority of cases, treatment is surgical but there is no consensus as to the 'ideal' technique. Acute abscess must be evacuated and an off-midline incision seems preferable. Excision is the standard definitive treatment but the choice of wide versus limited excision depends on the school of thought. The widespread practice in France is to leave the wound open, relying on postoperative healing by secondary intention. This technique has a low rate of recurrence but has the disadvantages of requiring local nursing care; the healing process is prolonged, usually associated with a temporary but prolonged cessation of activity. Primary wound closure techniques are less restrictive but their recurrence rate is probably higher. A direct midline suture is best after a small excision, but for a more extended wound, plastic reconstruction techniques are preferred; data in the literature favor asymmetric closure techniques such as those described by Karydakis and Bascom.

Keywords: Excision; Midline suture; Off-midline closure; Pilonidal disease; Rhomboid flap; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pilonidal Sinus* / diagnosis
  • Pilonidal Sinus* / epidemiology
  • Pilonidal Sinus* / surgery
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / methods*
  • Wound Healing