Informative medical presentation slide by Dr. Rajarshi Mitra, Specialist Laparoscopic Surgeon & Proctologist in Abu Dhabi, titled 'What Happens If A Pilonidal Sinus Is Left Untreated?'. The visual shows a confident female doctor with a stethoscope, writing on an invisible surface, presumably explaining the consequences of not treating a pilonidal sinus. The slide has a clean design with a teal backdrop, a yellow vertical stripe, and the medical practice's logo discreetly placed in the frame.


A pilonidal sinus will often worsen over time if not treated properly. While it may seem harmless initially, an untreated pilonidal sinus can lead to recurrent infections, chronic pain, and other complications. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment is key to curing this condition and avoiding long-term problems.

Progressive Irritation and Infection:

Without treatment, the pilonidal sinus cavity will continue to collect debris like hair and skin cells. This causes irritation, inflammation, and eventual infection of the cyst or tract. Bacteria thrive in the warm, moist conditions. Repeated abscess formation with drainage is characteristic. The surrounding tissue becomes swollen, painful, and riddled with sinus openings discharging pus.

Enlarging Tracts and Scarring:

The passages enlarge as the infection tunnels deeper into the tissue. Branching tracts may also develop, creating a complex maze under the skin. This network of tunnels is difficult for the body to heal naturally. The sinus tracts, scar tissue, and chronic inflammation can destroy healthy tissue over time. Large, hard scars may form.

Difficulty Sitting, Walking:

As the pilonidal cysts grow, everyday activities become increasingly painful. Sitting is uncomfortable due to the pressure and irritation. Walking, exercising, and maintaining good hygiene gets harder. The pain and drainage may prevent patients from working, attending school, or enjoying regular activities. Their quality of life declines significantly.

Risk of Sepsis:

If the infection spreads through the bloodstream, it can lead to a life-threatening condition called sepsis. Symptoms of sepsis include high fever, diarrhea, nausea, confusion, and organ failure. Sepsis requires immediate emergency medical care to prevent dangerous complications and death. An untreated pilonidal sinus that triggers sepsis can be fatal.

Wound Healing Problems:

Chronic inflammation impedes wound healing. Open wounds may persist for weeks or months, despite antibiotics. The sinus cavity becomes lined with scar tissue incapable of healing normally. Treatment focused just on draining the abscess is insufficient – the tracts continue to foster infection from within. Extensive procedures are required to remove all the diseased tissue.

Cancer Concerns:

In very rare cases, the recurring infections may trigger certain skin cancers – squamous cell carcinoma or verrucous carcinoma. Malignancy is an uncommon but serious complication. Catching it early is critical for effective cancer treatment. Any non-healing wound merits further examination.

Summary of Key Points:

– An untreated pilonidal sinus often worsens over time, with recurrent infections and abscess formation.

– The tracts expand, scar tissue develops, and the inflammation becomes chronic – causing pain and difficulty moving normally.

– Serious complications like sepsis, poor wound healing, and cancers are possible though rare.

– Extensive surgical procedures may ultimately be needed to cure an untreated, complex pilonidal sinus.

– Prompt diagnosis and early treatment prevents complications and supports complete healing of this condition.

In conclusion, allowing a pilonidal sinus to progress untreated often has negative consequences. Seeking medical care at the earliest for diagnosis and management is crucial to avoid the many problems it can create in both the short and long term.


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  • Anal Fissure
  • Anal Fistula
  • Gallbladder
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Inguinal Hernia
  • Pilonidal Sinus
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Based on 568 reviews
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