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What is a Pilonidal Cyst?

A pilonidal cyst is a sac of air- or fluid-filled tissue usually formed in the crease of the buttocks. They’re extremely uncomfortable, lead to severe self-consciousness, and make it difficult to sit down. You might also experience foul-smelling pus and blood drainage from the cyst. If left untreated, pilonidal cysts become abscessed and cause severe complications.

Causes of Pilonidal Cysts

Pilonidal cysts usually occur when loose hairs penetrating from the skin are pushed back down into the skin because of friction, tight clothing, or long periods of sitting still. Your body reacts to the ingrown hair as a foreign object and creates a cyst around it. Over time, the cyst becomes a swollen abscess with accumulated pus and infection.

Risk Factors for Pilonidal Cysts

You have a higher risk of pilonidal cysts if you’re obese, lead a sedentary lifestyle, or have a job that requires long hours of sitting still. People with lots of body hair are also more likely to experience pilonidal cysts because there’s more opportunity for the growing hair to be pushed back into the skin. Pilonidal cysts are also more common among men in their 20s.

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Recurrence Rate After Pilonidal Surgery

Draining the cyst without complete removal has an extremely high risk of recurrence. Removing the cyst but closing the wound with stitches immediately also has a high risk of recurrence—though the risk is lower than the first option. Removing the cyst and leaving the wound open has the lowest risk of recurrence, but the risk is still present.

One in four patients undergoing pilonidal surgery experience a recurrence. Pilonidal cysts have a high risk of recurrence because surgery doesn’t address the root cause—the inward growth of hair due to various lifestyle factors and causes. As such, most patients resume their daily activities after the surgery, only to experience a pilonidal cyst soon after.

Laser Therapy: The Treatment for Recurrent Pilonidal Cysts

Laser therapy is a fairly new procedure for pilonidal cysts, but it has shown immense promise in addressing the root cause of your problem. Laser treatment kills the hair follicles in the high-friction regions to prevent hair growth altogether, so you no longer have a risk of ingrown hair, thus removing the risk of pilonidal cysts.

It’s worth mentioning that laser treatment reduces the risk of recurrence, but it doesn’t remove the cyst itself. As such, you should opt for laser therapy after the pilonidal surgery to prevent future hair growth in the region, significantly reducing the risk of recurrence. Laser therapy is completely non-surgical and non-invasive with no downtime.

Advantages of Laser Treatment

  • Addresses the root cause of pilonidal cyst recurrence
  • Reduces the risk of recurrence
  • Non-surgical and non-invasive treatment
  • No downtime or extended recovery
  • No pain or discomfort
  • Improves cosmetic appearance in the region

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  • Why Choose Comprehensive Laser?

    Comprehensive Laser is a state-of-the-art medical spa and laser center outfitted with the most advanced laser technologies suitable for all skin types. Our licensed and certified providers carefully examine the site of pilonidal cyst recurrence, review your medical history, and curate the ideal treatment plan for your unique concerns.

Nurse Practitioner

Nina Nalini


Nina graduated with two Bachelor of Science Degrees from The University of Maryland College Park and Howard University. She then earned her Master of Science in Nursing Degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

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What We're Doing About COVID-19

At Comprehensive Laser & Aesthetics, your health, safety and happiness are our top priorities. We have been monitoring the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation very carefully. Our Columbia and Olney offices are open, and we will continue to follow updates from local, state and federal authorities.

We have taken a series of precautionary steps to ensure your safety:

  1. We are performing enhanced cleaning and sanitizing of all patient care areas on a regular basis and in between all patient visits.
  2. We will avoid having patients congregate in our reception area. Upon check-in, you will be shown to either a private exam room or consultation room depending upon the nature of your appointment.
  3. All members of our staff are screened daily for COVID symptoms and are asked to stay home if they exhibit any signs or symptoms of the disease.
  4. ALL of our providers wear surgical face masks, plastic face shields and the necessary personal protective equipment to ensure patient and provider safety.
  5. We use hospital-grade disinfectants (Cavi-Wipes, Cavicide) to clean patient rooms and equipment. CaviCide is a convenient, ready-to-use, intermediate-level surface disinfectant that is effective against TB, HBV, HCV, viruses (hydrophilic and lipophilic), bacteria (including MRSA and VRE) and fungi. It can be used in the NICU, operating rooms, isolation rooms, patient care areas and laboratories. When used as directed, it will also effectively clean and decontaminate critical and semi-critical instrumentation.
  6. All of our equipment and protective eyewear are cleaned after every use.
  7. Plexiglass shields will be in place at the check-in and check out areas to prevent aerosol transmission.

For the time being, we ask that you come to your appointments alone to limit the traffic through the office. We also ask that you leave children in the care of a family member or a sitter. If you have had a recent fever, sore throat, cold- or flu-like symptoms or contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19 please call immediately to reschedule your appointment.

As always we appreciate your support of and trust in our practice and we look forward to seeing you soon!


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