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Pilonidal cyst

What is it?

Pilonidal cyst is the specific name that is given to the most common dermoid cyst, when it is located in the sacral region (below the lumbar region). Dermoid cysts may be present also in other areas such as the neck, regions around the ears, nose and eyes.

In fact, the pilonidal cyst is not a true cyst but a vestige of embryonic skin. During the development of the embryo in the womb, "folds" of skin are formed and, later, are usually eliminated. Some of these "folds" may remain hidden within the skin. When they are large enough to get inflamed or to be noticed, are called dermoid cysts.

Usually the pilonidal cyst contains hairs, sebaceous glands and sweat glands. Probably the presence of these sweat glands is what makes the lesions worsen with heat. This is because with increasing temperature at the acral region these glands produce sweat, which is accumulated within the skin and can cause inflammation.

Characteristics and symptoms

Usually the first symptoms appear in adolescence or early adulthood. The disease begins as inflammation in the sacral region accompanied by local discomfort, especially when long-time sitting. With time, arises a nodular and soft lesion, which usually ranges from 1 to 5cm, which may be painful and present heat and redness.

The heat, tight pants and friction in this region are important causes for the appearance of inflammation. On the second world war, pilonidal cyst was called the Jeep disease, because it was frequently seen in soldiers who stayed for hours and hours sitting in jeeps (heat, a lot of time sitting and constant friction).


Traditionally, dermoid cysts and pilonidal cysts are surgically removed and the wound is left open to heal without suturing, method of surgical treatment of infected lesions .

Currently, due to better knowledge of their true origin, they are removed surgically and surgically closed as well, which greatly facilitates the patient's life, which has a rapid and smooth healing. However, surgical closure can be achieved only if the cyst is not inflamed. So the ideal time for surgery is when the lesion presents no symptoms.

When inflammation is present, a dermatologist should be consulted to reverse this process (usually with antibiotics and drainage, if necessary) and then schedule the surgery.

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- Cysts
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