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Pilonidal Cyst, Infected (Incision & Drainage)

A pilonidal cyst is an enlarged hair follicle on the sacrum near the tailbone. It is present at birth and may look like a small dimple. It can fill with skin oils, hair and dead skin cells. Because it often has an opening to the surface it can become infected with normal skin bacteria.

Your cyst was infected and required an incision to drain the pus. If a gauze packing was inserted into the opening, it should be removed in 1 to 2 days. Antibiotics are not required in the treatment of a simple abscess, unless the infection is spreading into the skin around the wound. The wound will take about one to two weeks to heal depending on the size of the cyst.

Home Care

  • Pus may drain from the wound for the first few days. Cover the wound with a clean dry bandage. Change the bandage if it becomes soaked with blood or pus, or if it gets soiled with feces or urine.

  • Sit in a tub filled with about 6 inches of very warm water for 10 to15 minutes. Allow the water to run in order to keep it hot for a total of 10-15 minutes. Repeat this three times a day until pain is relieved.

  • If a gauze packing was placed inside the cyst cavity, you may be advised to remove it yourself. You may do this in the shower. Once the packing is removed, you should wash the area carefully in the shower once a day, until the skin opening has closed. It is okay to direct the shower spray directly into the opening if this is not too painful.

  • If you were prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed until they are all gone.

  • You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. NOTE: If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.


Once this infection has healed, observe the following to reduce the risk of future infections:

  • Keep the area of the cyst clean by bathing or showering daily.

  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing to minimize perspiration and irritation of the skin.

  • Recurrent pilonidal cysts may be completely removed by surgery. But this can only be done at a time when there is no infection. Ask your doctor for more information.

Follow Up

with your doctor as advised by our staff. If a gauze packing was inserted in your wound, it should be removed in 1 to 2 days. Check your wound every day for the signs listed below.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Pus continues to come from the cyst for 5 days after the incision

  • Increasing redness, local pain, or swelling

  • Fever over 100.4°F (38.0°C) for more than 2 days


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