One of the more common questions I receive is how to deal with chronic pain after pilonidal surgery. Fortunately, these have not been patients on whom I have performed a cleft-lift, but rather other patients coming to me seeking solutions. However, it is possible for a patient to have a cleft lift and some time afterwards develop pain that seems similar to the pain that they had with pilonidal disease – raising the question about what exactly is happening. Although there isn’t always an obvious answer or a simple solution, I thought I’d share my observations on how to deal with this.
Pain developing months after a cleft lift is not a common occurrence. Having a cleft lift does not absolutely guarantee that a patient will ultimately be pain free, but in a recent article I wrote, 500 cleft lift patients were surveyed. Of the 500, only two said that they had some minor discomfort with sitting at two months post-op, so chronic, residual pain was not common at all in this group of patients. You can read about it by following this link.
When dealing with “pain” it is important to differentiate the different kinds of pain, and there are several significant questions that have to be answered in order to start narrowing it down.
It would be difficult in a short post to go through an “if this, then that” algorithm, so this may require you be evaluated by a physician, but here are some reasons for chronic pain:
If there are no physical findings, and this just seems to be some prolonged, but mild discomfort or tenderness in the surgical area, here are some strategies you can consider:
In summary, pain is not normal, and there is usually a diagnosis and a solution. I recommend that you don’t give up and consider seeing the various physicians discussed above in order to resolve the pain.
We routinely take care of patients with pilonidal cysts, non-healing pilonidal wounds, and pilonidal abscesses with great success in the pediatric, teen, and adult age groups.