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Pilonidal Cyst Removal: Before Your Child's Surgery

Abscessed pilonidal cyst at top of crease between buttocks, with detail of cyst cut open and drained, and detail of cyst removed.

What is pilonidal cyst removal?

Pilonidal (say "py-luh-NY-dul") cyst removal is a type of surgery. It removes a pilonidal cyst at the top of the crease of your child's buttocks.

The doctor may use medicines or special tools and small cuts. In some cases, a larger cut is needed. When more tissue is removed, a skin flap may be needed. Some cuts may be closed with stitches. Your child will likely have one or more scars that will fade over time.

Your child will probably go home several hours after surgery. It may take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks before your child can do most of their normal activities.

But until the area has fully healed, it's important that your child not sit for a long time or do any type of hard or challenging exercise.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful for both your child and you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Talk to your child about the surgery. Tell your child that having the cyst removed will help your child feel better.
  • Plan for your child's recovery time. Your child may need more of your time right after the surgery, both for care and for comfort.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell the doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products your child takes. Some may increase the risk of problems during the surgery. Your doctor will tell you if your child should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.

The day before surgery

  • You may get a call from your doctor's office to confirm the time and date of your child's surgery.
  • Remember to follow your doctor's instructions about your child taking or stopping medicines before surgery. This includes over-the-counter medicines.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when your child should stop eating and drinking. If you don't, the surgery may be cancelled. If the doctor told you to have your child take their medicines on the day of surgery, have your child take them with only a sip of water.
  • Have your child take a bath or shower before you come in. Do not apply lotion or deodorant.
  • Your child may brush their teeth. But tell your child not to swallow any toothpaste or water.
  • Do not let your child wear contact lenses. Bring your child's glasses or contact lens case.
  • Be sure your child has something that reminds them of home. A special stuffed animal, toy, or blanket may be comforting. For an older child, it might be a book or music.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • A parent or legal guardian must accompany your child.
  • Your child will be kept comfortable and safe by the anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make your child sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The surgery will usually take about an hour.
  • After surgery, your child will be taken to the recovery room. As your child wakes up, the recovery room staff will monitor your child's condition. The doctor will talk to you about the surgery.
  • Most children are able to go home a few hours after the surgery.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare your child for the surgery.
  • Your child becomes ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about your child having the surgery.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.