A pilonidal cyst is definitely an irritating condition. You would find it hard to sit comfortably, sit in the toilet, or perform any activity or task which would require you to sit for a long time. However, this is not yet the worst case scenario as a pilonidal cyst can still get worse—this is what we call pilonidal abscess. When a pilonidal abscess occurs, the cyst is now said to contain pus and other skin debris making it more painful, tender and swollen.
Cause of Pilonidal Cyst with Abscess
Basically, a pilonidal cyst literally means a “nest of hair”, this is because the pilonidal cyst may contain hair follicles and materials inside. A simple pilonidal cyst may appear like a pimple in the area of the tailbone, just a few centimeters above the midline of the buttocks. Furthermore, a pilonidal cyst with abscess is believed to be caused by ingrown hair which causes infection to the cyst.
Signs and Symptoms of a Pilonidal Cyst with Abscess
Most commonly, a person with pilonidal cyst with abscess will feel the following signs and symptoms:
- Pain at the tailbone due to inflammation of the pilonidal cyst
- Redness of the area due to increased vascularity of the area in response to inflammation
- Swelling or inflammatory response of the area
- Fever due to increased white blood cells in the bloodstream, but this is uncommon
- Presence of pus, containing hair follicles and other skin debris
Diagnosis of Pilonidal Cyst with Abscess
Pilonidal cyst with abscess is diagnosed outright. It does not need any test or examination since it can be observed by the naked eye. The swelling and inflammation, redness, presence of pus and fever already pinpoint to the presence of a pilonidal cyst with abscess. However, in some cases, a physician may order for a blood test, but this is rare.
Treatment of Pilonidal Cyst with Abscess
- Incision and Drainage. Pilonidal cyst with abscess can be treated with Incision and Drainage. This can be performed as an out-patient procedure. The surgeon will induce anesthesia and once it has taken effect, the affected area will be incised and the pus, as well as the hair follicles and other skin debris inside. The incision is expected to heal within three to four weeks.
- Marsupialization. Another method of treating pilonidal cysts with abscess is through marsupialization. In marsupialization, incision and drainage is still necessary. After drainage, a small pouch is made in the wound, minimizing its size and depth, and not requiring the frequent changing of gauze. Since the wound is not completely closed, healing time would take around five to six weeks. Furthermore, a specially trained surgeon needs to perform marsupialization.
- Immediate Closing of the Wound. The last method of treating Pilonidal cysts is through incision and drainage with immediate closing of the wound. Although it will take a shorter span for the incision to heal, the chance of getting a recurrence of the cyst is higher since there is no assurance that the entire contents of the cyst were drained.