What Is This Pimple-Like Bump Near My Tailbone?

A cyst is a sac or pouch that forms in your tissue, often under your skin and sometimes in or on organs, like ovaries. Filled with air, fluid, tissue, or debris, they look similar to a pimple — raised and red. 

When a cyst forms near your tailbone — specifically in or near your butt crease — there’s a good chance it’s a pilonidal cyst, a relatively common type of cyst that’s usually filled with hair and debris.

Michael H. Tarlowe, MD, is skilled at treating pilonidal cysts using techniques focused on relieving uncomfortable symptoms and preventing cysts from recurring. Here, learn the basics about pilonidal cysts, along with the techniques we use to treat them.

Understanding pilonidal cysts

Like many cysts, pilonidal cysts form as a reaction to a foreign substance, like an ingrown hair or trapped skin debris. Your body reacts by forming a protective sac around the debris, sequestering it from the rest of your body.

Pilonidal cysts are more common in men, and they’re also associated with specific risk factors, like:

They also tend to occur in young men between puberty and around age 40.

Pilonidal cyst symptoms

While pilonidal cysts can certainly feel and look unusual (or unexpected), they don’t always cause symptoms. These asymptomatic cysts probably don’t need treatment. 

But many people find that the cysts cause pain and tenderness, especially when sitting or bending. Worse, sometimes a cyst becomes infected and a painful abscess forms. These deep infections can be especially painful, and if not treated, they can spread to other areas.

An infected cyst typically looks red and feels warm and tender to the touch. It may drain pus or other fluid that has a foul odor.

Treating pilonidal cysts

While antibiotics may help fight an infection that spreads to your skin or other areas, they can’t clear up a pilonidal cyst. Instead, Dr. Tarlowe treats these cysts using two primary methods.

Incision and drainage

In this approach, Dr. Tarlowe uses a local anesthetic to numb the skin around the cyst. Then, he drains the cyst using a small incision into the tissue. The area is carefully cleaned of debris, then packed with surgical gauze. 

The wound is left open to heal, a process that takes several weeks. Dr. Tarlowe provides detailed information to help you care for the area while it heals.

Incision, drainage, and closure

This technique also begins with a local anesthetic and drainage. Once the cyst is drained and the area is cleaned, Dr. Tarlowe uses sutures to close the incision. While aftercare is simpler (there’s no gauze to change), there’s a greater chance that the cyst may recur in the future.

Don’t ignore unusual symptoms

Pilonidal cysts don’t always cause symptoms, but they should always be evaluated. Early detection and diagnosis helps Dr. Tarlowe map out the best course of treatment focused on preventing complications, like deep infections, in the future. 

To learn more about pilonidal cyst treatment, call 954-210-7127 or request an appointment online with Dr. Tarlowe in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

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