Types of surgery

Pilonidal sinus surgery

The type of surgery you have will depend on how large the pilonidal sinus is, your symptoms, and if you have had an infection of your pilonidal sinus before.

Your surgeon will talk to you about the different types of surgery, and which is best for you.

Your recovery after surgery will be slightly different depending on the type of surgery you have had. 

Surgery to remove the pilonidal sinus

You might have surgery to remove the pilonidal sinus. This can be done using stitches to close the wound. The wound can also be left open to heal by itself, with no stitches used.

If you have stitches they might dissolve by themselves, or they might need to be removed after surgery. Your surgeon will let you know which type of stitches you have had.

If the stitches need to be removed, you need to contact your GP to make an appointment with the practice nurse to remove your stitches 2 weeks after surgery.

Limberg flap reconstruction

This type of surgery removes all the pilonidal sinus, and the affected tissue surrounding it.

Healthy skin is moved from your bottom to cover the area that has been removed.

You will need to stay in hospital for about 2 nights after this type of surgery.

Your wound will have stitches that need removing at the hospital about 2 weeks after surgery. 

EPSiT (endoscopic pilonidal sinus treatment)

Your surgeon can use a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end (an endoscope) to look inside of your pilonidal sinus.

Instruments are used with the endoscope to treat and clean the area. Your surgeon might also use heat to stop any bleeding, and to help your pilonidal sinus heal.

This procedure means the wounds made are small and should heal quickly, with less discomfort. This allows you to return to your normal activities and work much sooner. 

Risks of surgery for a pilonidal sinus

Your surgeon will talk to you about the risks of surgery before asking you to sign a consent form .

Risks of surgery include:

  • infection in the area you had surgery, which can be treated with antibiotics
  • bleeding or a blood clot (called a haematoma). These do not usually cause major problems but can sometimes mean you need more surgery to drain the blood

You will have surgery under general anaesthetic. This means you will be asleep and will not feel any pain. A doctor called an anaesthetist will meet you before surgery to tell you more about this, and explain any risks to you.

Sometimes your pilonidal sinus and symptoms can return after surgery. If this happens, you might need to have more surgery.

We want to involve you in decisions about your care and treatment. If you decide to have surgery, you will be asked to sign a consent form to say that you agree to have the treatment and you understand what it involves.

If you would like more information about our consent process, speak to a member of staff caring for you.

Resource number: 1671/VER6
Last reviewed: April 2022
Next review: July 2024

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Contact us

If you have not heard about your follow-up appointment within 2 weeks of your operation, please call the GI surgical access centre.

Phone: 020 7188 8875

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Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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