Management of pilonidal disease

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Pilonidal disease, and the treatment associated with it, can cause significant morbidity and substantial burden to patients’ quality of life. Despite the plethora of surgical techniques that have been developed to treat pilonidal disease, discrepancies in technique, recurrence rates, complications, time to return to work/school and patients’ aesthetic satisfaction between treatment options have led to controversy over the best approach to this common acquired disease of young adults.

Recent findings

The management of pilonidal disease must strike a balance between recurrence and surgical morbidity. The commonly performed wide excision without closure has prolonged recovery, while flap closures speed recovery time and improve aesthetics at the expense of increased wound complications. Less invasive surgical techniques have recently evolved and are straightforward, with minimal morbidity and satisfactory results.

Summary

As with any surgical intervention, the ideal treatment for pilonidal disease would be simple and cost-effective, cause minimal pain, have a limited hospital stay, low recurrence rate and require minimal time off from school or work. Less invasive procedures for pilonidal disease may be favourable as an initial approach for these patients reserving complex surgical treatment for refractory disease.

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