Pilonidal Cyst Excision: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

The amount of time it will take for you to heal depends on the way your surgery was done. If the cut (incision) was closed with stitches, it will probably take about 4 weeks to completely heal. If your incision is left open, it may take from a few weeks to several months to heal. After the incision has healed, you will have a scar where the cyst was removed. This will fade and become softer with time.

Most people can go back to work and most activities after 2 to 4 weeks. Until you have completely healed, you will need to avoid strenuous exercise and activities that require long periods of sitting.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
  • Try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
  • Shower as usual. Pat the area around your incision dry with a towel when you are done. Avoid baths until the wound is completely healed. Keep the area dry and clean.
  • Ask your doctor when you can drive again.
  • Avoid sitting for a long time or sitting on hard surfaces until your incision has healed.
  • Most people are able to return to work within 2 to 4 weeks after surgery.

Diet

  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).
  • You may notice that your bowel movements are not regular right after your surgery. This is common. Try to avoid constipation and straining with bowel movements. You may want to take a fibre supplement every day. If you have not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, ask your doctor about taking a mild laxative.

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.

Incision care

  • If your incision was closed with stitches:
    • Wash the area daily with warm, soapy water and pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
    • You may cover the area with a gauze bandage if it weeps or rubs against clothing. Change the bandage every day.
    • Keep the area clean and dry.
  • If your incision was left open to heal, change the bandage, called a dressing, as instructed by your doctor.
    • Dressing changes may hurt at first. Taking pain medicine about half an hour before you change the dressing can help.
    • If your dressing sticks to your wound, try soaking the dressing in warm water for about 10 minutes before you remove it. You can do this in the shower or by placing a wet face cloth over the dressing.
    • You may notice greenish grey fluid from your wound as you start to heal. This is normal. It is a sign that your wound is healing.

Other instructions

  • Use a doughnut cushion if sitting is uncomfortable.
  • Keep the area around your wound free from hair. Ask your doctor what method of hair removal will work best.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.
  • You have severe belly pain.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have pain that does not get better after you take your pain medicine.
  • Your incision was closed with stitches and the stitches come loose, or your incision comes open.
  • Bright red blood has soaked through the bandage over your incision.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: February 5, 2016