What is Pilonidal Disease?

Pilonidal disease is an infectious process arising in the soft tissue overlying the tailbone. The so-called pilonidal abscess can bring pain and fever.

Pilonidal disease is an inflammatory process arising in the soft tissue overlying the sacrococcyx, or tailbone. It primarily results from deeply-rooted tufts of hair between the bone and the skin. While it is “borne of the hair,” the disease becomes clinically apparent only when opportunistic bacterial infection sets in. It is most prevalent in males between the ages of 15 and 40 years. Other risk factors include obesity, sedentary employment/lifestyle, and family history.

In its acute form, pilonidal disease presents with a painful, reddened lump or “abscess” in the intergluteal crease. It will be difficult for the patient to find a comfortable sitting position. Fever, chills, body aches, and malaise are seen in the most severe of these cases. In its chronic form, the disease may present as one or multiple pus-draining “sinus tracts.” Patients with chronic disease have often had multiple emergency room visits and surgical drainage procedures.

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