Pit picking vs. Limberg flap vs. primary open method to treat pilonidal sinus disease - A cohort of 327 consecutive patients

Innov Surg Sci. 2022 Jun 27;7(1):23-29. doi: 10.1515/iss-2021-0041. eCollection 2022 Mar 1.


Background: Minimally invasive methods in pilonidal sinus disease (PSD) surgery are becoming standard. Although long-term results are available for some techniques, long-term outcome data of patients after pit picking is lacking. We aimed at investigating perioperative and long-term outcomes of patients undergoing pit picking, Limberg flap or primary open surgery to treat PSD.

Methods: In a single-centre observational study, we evaluated the outcomes of 327 consecutive patients undergoing PSD surgery between 2011 and 2020.

Results: PSD had recurred in 22% of Limberg flap patients and 62% of pit picking patients at 5 years (p=0.0078; log rank test). Previous pilonidal surgeries, smoking, body mass index, immunodeficiency, and diabetes did not significantly influence the long-term recurrence rate. Primary open treatment was performed for 72% of female patients presenting with primary disease.

Conclusions: Due to its especially dismal long-term results, pit picking should be abandoned, and Limberg flap should be promoted instead, even for primary disease and in females.

Keywords: Limberg flap; long-term recurrence rate; minimally invasive therapy; pilonidal sinus; pit picking.