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Pilonidal Cyst Specialist

Michael Tarlowe, MD -  - Proctologist

Michael Tarlowe, MD

Proctologist & General Surgeon located in White Plains, NY & Upper East Side, New York, NY

A pilonidal cyst can make it difficult for you to sit comfortably, which can significantly impact your daily routine. Michael H. Tarlowe, MD, is a highly skilled proctologist and colorectal surgeon who provides his patients in Upper East Side Manhattan, New York City, and White Plains, New York, with safe, gentle, and effective treatments for pilonidal cysts. To learn more, schedule a visit by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.

Pilonidal Cyst Q & A

What is a pilonidal cyst?

Pilonidal means “nest of hair,” and a pilonidal cyst is a small, pimple-like pocket that can form near the bottom of your tailbone that’s usually filled with skin debris and hair. 

When a pilonidal cyst becomes infected, it fills with pus and is referred to as a pilonidal abscess. Pilonidal abscesses can be incredibly painful.

Pilonidal cysts and abscesses happen more often in men than in women and are more common with younger people.

 

What causes a pilonidal cyst?

Pilonidal cysts happen when a loose hair pierces the skin and is forced down inside, either through prolonged skin-on-skin contact, tight clothing, or sitting for long periods of time. When the looser hair embeds deep enough into your skin, your body treats it as a foreign substance and responds by forming a cyst around it. 

Some factors that can make you more likely to develop a pilonidal cyst include:

  • Being male
  • Being in your 20s
  • Having excess, stiff, or coarse body hair
  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Leading an inactive lifestyle
  • Being overweight

 

Having a small dimple in the skin between your buttocks also makes you more likely to develop a pilonidal cyst. 

 

How do you treat a pilonidal cyst?

A pilonidal cyst is a type of boil, so it doesn’t respond to antibiotics. If you have a pilonidal cyst, Dr. Tarlowe can treat it in one of a few ways:

Incision and drainage

Dr. Tarlowe administers local anesthesia to numb your cyst and the area around it. He makes a small surgical incision into the cyst, drains it of its pus, and removes any hair follicles within it. He then packs the space with gauze, leaving the wound open to heal over the next few weeks.

Marsupialization

Just like an incision and drainage procedure, Dr. Tarlowe numbs your cyst and removes the pus and hair follicles. But rather than leave it open to heal, he makes a pouch by sewing the edges of his surgical incision to the edges of the wound. With this procedure, the surgical incision Dr. Tarlowe makes can be smaller and more shallow, so you don’t need to worry as much about replacing your gauze every day. It can, however, take longer to heal, at about six weeks total. 

Incision, drainage, and closing of a wound

If you choose this method for treating your pilonidal cyst, Dr. Tarlowe cuts open and drains your cyst, but he sews it shut after. This means you don’t have to worry about packing any gauze during your recovery period, but it’s more difficult to remove the entire cyst this way, meaning you might have issues further down the road.

If you have a pilonidal cyst, schedule an appointment with Dr. Tarlowe today for safe and effective treatment. You can book your visit by calling the office or using the convenient online booking tool.