Complications of a pilonidal sinus  

Several complications can occur as a result of surgery for a pilonidal sinus.

The pilonidal sinus can return

One review of several studies found that the pilonidal sinus returned in 7 out of 100 people who had surgery to remove it. Leaving the wound open after surgery, rather than closing it, reduced the risk of it returning by over one-third. 

Infection at the wound site

Infections can occur at the site where the pilonidal sinus was removed. One review found that infection occurred in up to 13 out of 100 people. Whether the wound was left open or closed did not affect the rate of infection.

Contact your GP immediately if you notice any signs that your wound may have become infected. Signs of infection include:

  • pain
  • red, swollen skin
  • a high temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • a feeling of heat at the site of the wound
  • fluid, pus or blood leaking from the site of the wound
  • an unpleasant smell coming from the site of the wound

Page last reviewed: 03/03/2011

Next review due: 03/03/2013