Pilonidal Cyst (cont.)

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What are the complications of a pilonidal cyst?

The complications of a pilonidal cyst may include the following:

  • Abscess formation
  • Recurrence of the pilonidal cyst
  • Systemic infection (infection that spreads throughout the body)
  • Rarely, squamous cell carcinoma (the development of a form of skin cancer within the cyst)

How are pilonidal cysts prevented?

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Good hygiene of the sacrococcygeal area is important to help prevent the development of pilonidal disease and its recurrence if it does develop. Keep the area clean and dry, and either shave or use depilatory creams to keep the area free of hair. Also, try to avoid prolonged sitting or excessive repetitive pressure to the area of the coccyx (tailbone). Weight loss in obese individuals may also help decrease the development and recurrence of pilonidal disease.

What is the prognosis for pilonidal cysts?

Generally speaking, the prognosis for individuals with pilonidal disease is excellent. Recurrence of pilonidal disease, however, is common and is generally estimated to occur in between 40%-50% of individuals.

Medically reviewed by Rambod Rouhbakhsh, M.D., MBA, FAAFP; American Board of Family Medicine


de Caestecker, James. "Pilonidal Disease." Medscape.com. Aug. 24, 2009. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/192668-overview>.

Lanigan, Michael D. "Pilonidal Cyst and Sinus." Medscape.com. Aug. 6, 2009. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/788127-overview>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2014

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Pilonidal Cyst - Treatments Question: What was the treatment for your pilonidal cyst?
Pilonidal Cyst - Signs and Symptoms Question: Besides the actual cyst, what additional signs or symptoms did you experience?
Pilonidal Cyst - Prevention Question: How do (did) you prevent pilonidal cysts from recurring?