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Pilonidal Cyst


  • A pilonidal (peye-loh-NI-dl) cyst is a small skin sac, or pocket, under the skin. This sac may grow near the bottom of the spine, and may contain hair. It is more common in young men, but anyone can get a pilonidal cyst. This cyst usually looks like a small hole or dimple in the skin with a few hairs coming out. Pilonidal cysts are usually caused by ingrown hair in the folds of the skin. Pilonidal cysts may become infected, and cause an abscess (AB-ses). An abscess is a localized collection of pus in a cavity or pocket.
  • Your skin may hurt and look red and swollen if the cyst fills with pus and becomes infected. You may have yellow or white drainage coming from the cyst. You may also have a higher than normal body temperature (fever).


Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.

Keep all appointments:

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

What care is needed if my cyst is infected?

  • If your cyst is infected, a procedure called an incision and drainage may be done. During this procedure, a small incision (cut) is made to open the cyst and drain it. After this procedure, you will need to keep the area clean and dry. This will help to keep germs out of the wound. Your infection may take longer to heal if you do not keep it clean.
    • Your caregiver may pack the open area (cut) with gauze to drain the cyst. This lets the wound heal from the inside to the outside. Keep the area clean with soap and water. You may need to remove the gauze, and pack the wound one or more times each day. Ask your caregiver for information on how to pack your incision. Ask someone to help you clean and pack the wound if you cannot reach it.
  • Surgery may also be done to remove the cyst if the infection does not get better, or if it returns. After this surgery, your wound will either be closed or left open and packed with gauze. Talk to your caregiver about how to care for your wound after this surgery.
  • If the cyst is drained or removed, you may need to take antibiotic (an-ti-bi-AH-tik) medicine.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have more pain, swelling, redness, drainage, or bleeding from the area of the pilonidal cyst.
  • You have muscle aches, dizziness, or do not feel well.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.