Pilonidal Disease Specialist

Gabriel Akopian, MD -  - General and Colorectal Surgeon

Gabriel Akopian, MD

General and Colorectal Surgeon located in Pasadena, CA

A pilonidal cyst is a painful lump that forms when a loose hair is embedded in the skin of the buttocks and becomes infected or abscessed. These can be tender to the touch and leak foul-smelling pus, and they need to be excised by a doctor before they can heal. Gabriel Akopian, MD, is the area’s number one provider of pit excision, performing the outpatient procedure frequently in his Pasadena, California, office. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the office or set one up online.

Pilonidal Disease Q & A

What is a pilonidal cyst?

A pilonidal cyst is a painful pocket of hair and debris that almost always occurs at the tailbone or cleft of the buttocks. While the exact causes are unclear, the cyst is formed when loose hair embeds itself in your skin. If left untreated, it can become infected and abscessed.

Who is most at risk of developing a pilonidal cyst?

Because the exact cause is unknown, it’s impossible to predict who will develop a pilonidal cyst. But some people do seem to be especially susceptible to developing them, including:

  • Men, especially with excess body hair
  • Obese or inactive people
  • Anyone whose occupation involves prolonged sitting, like a truck driver
  • Anyone who has anal sex
  • Anyone with especially stiff or coarse body hair

Age also seems to have an effect, as people most commonly develop pilonidal cysts in their 20s.

What are the symptoms of pilonidal cysts?

When infected, the cyst becomes inflamed and has a visible abscess. The cyst itself usually looks like a small bump with an opening or hair in the middle.

It will most likely look red and irritated, be painful and tender to the touch, and drain blood or a foul-smelling pus.

How are pilonidal cysts treated?

Pilonidal cysts will need to be excised by a doctor, a process often called pit picking or pit excision. Dr. Akopian is the leading provider of this treatment in the area, and he specializes in performing the quick procedure with minimal discomfort. Excising the cyst offers immediate relief from infection and will lead to a full recovery in almost all cases.

In some rare instances, more severe or recurrent cases of pilonidal cysts may require a more involved surgical solution. Dr. Akopian uses a slightly more involved technique called a Bascom cleft lift to ensure healing begins correctly in these more extreme cases.

After your procedure, it’s vital that you keep your wound clean and give it plenty of time to heal. If you follow the aftercare instructions closely, you should make a speedy and complete recovery.

If you have a pilonidal cyst that you’d like examined or excised, make an appointment online or call the office today.