Pilonidal Disease


What is pilonidal disease?

The word pilonidal derives from the Latin word pilus (hair) and nidus (nest). Pilonidal disease is the term that encompasses the disease process in which hair burrows through the skin and into the subcutaneous tissue of the gluteal cleft, leading to a sinus tract that becomes epithelialized. The tract frequently ends in a pseudocystic saccule (i.e. nest) filled with hair and chronic granulation tissue. Over time, this collection can become infected leading to an abscess. The disease was first described by Mayo in 1833 and the term pilonidal sinus was coined by Hodges in 1880.

It is a relatively common problem seen by pediatric surgeons. Although it may not be as glamorous as some of the other problems that we care for, it is a significant source of morbidity and can result in significant periods of missed school and work. An organized treatment plan for the different stages of the disease can be very beneficial for patients affected with this problem.

see also Pilonidal Procedures

content in this topic is referenced in SCORE AnalPathology: Fissures, Abscesses, Fistulae, Pilonidal, Prolapse overview

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Last updated: January 18, 2022