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Glossary of Pilonidal Terminology

Gluteal Crease: the natural midline fold between the buttocks. Also known as the Natal Crease.

Pilonidal Cyst: a pocket under the skin, usually directly under the midline or next to the gluteal crease, which can cause pain, become infected, or create tunnels into adjacent tissue. This link will show a surgical specimen with a cyst.

Midline Pore: enlarged skin pores in the gluteal crease are called “pits” or “midline pores”. They are the start of pilonidal problems.

Pilonidal Sinus: if a midline pore gets hairs that fall off the body embedded in the pore it can create a lump (pilonidal cyst) or a tunnel (pilonidal sinus). This may create a secondary opening somewhere else.

Pilonidal abscess: if a pilonidal cyst becomes infected and painful, it is called a pilonidal abscess.

Pilonidal disease: this encompasses any pits, cysts, sinuses and open wounds related to the gluteal cleft.

Excision: removal of the involved area.

Packing: if an abscess or open wound has gauze dressings inserted into it and changed daily, this is referred to as “packing”. We do not do this at our clinic, except in rare situations.

Drain: after surgery we place a clear plastic tube under the skin, which comes out and is connected to a rubber reservoir (drain bulb) which collects drainage. This usually stays in for about a week.

Cleft-Lift: the operation that flattens the gluteal cleft and brings the scar away from the center line. More details here. There are other operations for pilonidal cysts and sinuses, and you can read more about them here.

Incision and Drainage: when a pilonidal abscess develops, the treatment is to open it up and let the infection come out. This is called “lancing”, “draining”, or “incision and drainage”.