Pilonidal Sinus Surgery

This page will provide you with information about surgery for a pilonidal sinus. For further details, please speak to your consultant.

What is pilonidal sinus?

Your natal cleft is the area between your buttocks. A pilonidal sinus is when hairs grow in your natal cleft, or loose hairs fall and amass in the area. These hairs can carry bacteria which, in turn, can cause the area to become inflamed or infected. Sometimes, an abscess will form, or pus will drain through the sinus (tunnel) out to the skin (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Pilonidal sinus

Copyright © 2015 EIDO Healthcare Limited

What are the advantages of having surgery?

Surgery is the most reliable way of removing the pilonidal sinus and the infected pockets

What are the alternatives to surgery?

Taking care of the natal cleft on a daily basis and ensuring it is clean can prevent an infection occurring.

Infrequent discharge from the site can be treated with antibiotics. A procedure to drain an abscess is also a possibility.

What will happen during the operation?

Performed under general anaesthetic, the procedure usually takes around half an hour to complete, during which time the surgeon will take out the sinus and the infected tissue.

Risks and complications

Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.


Typically, you should be able to return home on the day of the operation and go back to work after 2-3 weeks.

Regular exercise can aid the healing process and help you resume daily activities as soon as possible. However, prior to embarking on your exercise regime you must seek advice from your consultant. Please be aware that the pilonidal sinus can return in the future.


Pilonidal sinus is not a rare condition and is quite common amongst young adults. It can cause an abscess or continued discharge, so the best and most dependable solution is surgery.


EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.