Why is it that “surgery doesn’t work” for some patients?

Unfortunately, some patient’s experience with surgery for pilonidal disease is unsuccessful. There are patients have numerous operations over a span of many years and can not seem to have their problem solved. Does that mean “surgery doesn’t work for them”?

What it means is the kind or quality of surgery they had didn’t work for them. “Surgery” is a broad term, and can encompass many different operations done with surgeons of varying skill. It is possible for any operation for pilonidal disease, including the cleft-lift, to fail. However, in experienced hands, 99% of patients can be cured with a cleft-lift.

The cleft-lift is also an excellent solution to wounds that remain after failed other operations including wide excisions and other flap procedures.

So, if you are considering surgery, do not let the negative experiences of other patients guide you to pessimistic inertia, but instead look for a cleft-lift surgeon with experience to solve your problem.

What Happens When You Submit our Contact Form?

We take your attempts to contact us very seriously, and the best way to reach us is through our contact form. Our staff views these Monday – Friday 9am-5pm central US time (GMT -5 or -6 depending on the time of year). Once we receive your form, our medical assistant will either contact you requesting more information, or forward it to our billing clerk or office manager if your question is more about insurance or cost, than clinical issues.

We will ask you to send us photos, as described on this page, and front and back copies of your insurance card, and provide you with a HIPPA compliant email which will receive them. If you use this, you are agreeing to email as an acceptable method of communication.

We receive many email contacts in a day, and all photos and medical histories are seen by Dr Immerman, at the appropriate point in our communication, to insure that if you take the trouble to travel here that we have enough information to suggest that a cleft-lift is most likely a very reasonable choice for treatment of your pilonidal disease. Approximately 80% of our patients reside outside of our usual referral area, so we are in-tune to the needs of traveling patients.

If you have questions for the staff that really require a phone conversation, please feel free to give us a call at 715.832.1044!

Pilonidal Terminology

The terms used to describe pilonidal disease are confusing to both patients and physicians. A “pilonidal cyst” is the term used when there is a pocket of hair under the skin. It is not really a cyst in the true meaning of the word, but it is the name commonly used.

If the “cyst” becomes infected and painful, it is called a “pilonidal abscess”.

If the inflammation from the cyst burrows sideways and creates an opening that intermittently becomes painful and drains, it is now called a “pilonidal sinus”.

If there is not a noticeable cyst, abscess, or sinus – but there are enlarged midline pores (pits) or even open wounds – we don’t have good terminology, and it is often just referred to as “pilonidal disease”.

When surgery for pilonidal disease fails, and patients are left with open wounds that aren’t healing because of their location in the gluteal crease, we call this pilonidal disease or pilonidal wounds – but, again, there isn’t well accepted terminology for this.