A pilonidal (Pie-low-NIE-dul) cyst is an abnormal pocket or pit that may contain hair and skin debris. The cyst is located above the gluteal crease (crack of the buttock). If this debris causes infection, a painful swelling occurs and can open and drain. Surgery may need to be done to clear out the cyst. The wound can be small to large.

Wound Care

Wound care is very important after surgery. You will need to clean 2 or more times per day until healed. You may need to clean the area for several weeks using a cotton gauze/pad. You may also need to shave around the surgical wound to prevent hairs from lying in the wound. The hair can prevent healing.

With an open wound you may be seen in clinic to remove the bandage and packing. You may need daily dressing changes. It can take several weeks for this area to heal. Arrange for someone to help you with wound care. If this is not possible, let us know. We can make plans to teach you wound care in clinic.

Check daily for signs of infection

  • Increasing redness and pain

  • Pus-like drainage

  • Excess swelling or bleeding

  • Fever above 100.4 F


  • Wear loose fitting clothes.

  • Only light activity until okayed by your doctor.

  • Increase fluids and fiber in your diet to keep your stools soft.

  • Do not drive while taking opioid pain pills.

When to Call

  • If you have questions about wound care

  • Any signs of infection

  • Pain not controlled with pain pills

  • Rapid or excessive bruising or bleeding

  • Any other symptoms that concern you

Who to Call

Digestive Health Center
(608) 242-2800 or 1-855-342-9900
After hours, holidays and weekends the number will be answered by the paging operator. Ask for the doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.