Clinical Review

Treatment Options for Pilonidal Sinus

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Laser Therapy

Lasers are emerging as primary and adjuvant treatment options for pilonidal sinuses. Depilation with alexandrite, diode, and Nd:YAG lasers has demonstrated the most consistent evidence.50-54 The firm texture and quality of the hair is proposed to incite an inflammatory response with sinus formation; therefore, using a laser to permaently remove this factor may help prevent future disease.

Large randomized controlled trials are needed to fully determine the utility of laser therapy as a primary or adjuvant treatment in pilonidal disease; however, given that laser therapies address the core pathogenesis of pilonidal disease and generally are well tolerated, their use may be strongly considered.


With mild pilonidal disease, more conservative measures can be employed; however, in cases of recurrent or suppurative disease or extensive scarring, excision with flap closure typically is required. Although no single surgical procedure has been identified as superior, one review demonstrated that off-midline procedures are statistically superior to midline closure in healing time, surgical site infection, and recurrence rate.24 Novel techniques continue to emerge in the management of pilonidal disease, including laser therapy. This modality shows promise as either a primary or adjuvant treatment; however, large randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm early findings.

Given that pilonidal disease most commonly occurs in the actively employed population, we recommend that dermatologic surgeons discuss treatment options with patients who have pilonidal disease, taking into consideration cost, length of hospital stay, and recovery time when deciding on a treatment course.

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