Background: Pilonidal disease in the natal cleft is treated traditionally by a wide and deep excision of the affected area. There is growing awareness, however, to the advantages of minimally invasive surgeries.
Objectives: To compare the efficacy of wide excision operations and minimal trephine surgery in patients with primary pilonidal disease.
Methods: In this retrospective study we examined surgical and inpatient records of 2039 patients who underwent surgery for primary pilonidal disease in five private hospitals between 2009 and 2012. Most procedures were of lay-open, primary midline closure, and minimal surgery types. Pilonidal recurrence rates were evaluated in a subset of 1260 patients operated by 53 surgeons each performing one type of surgery, regardless of patient characteristics or disease severity.
Results: With a mean follow-up of 7.2 years, 81.5%, 85%, and 88% of patients were disease-free after minimally invasive surgery, wide excision with primary closure, and lay-open surgery, respectively, with no statistically significant difference in recurrence rates. Minimal surgeries were usually performed under local anesthesia and involved lower pain levels, less need for analgesics, and shorter hospital stays than wide excision operations, which were normally performed under general anesthesia. The use of drainage, antibiotics, or methylene blue had no effect on recurrence of pilonidal disease.
Conclusions: Minimally invasive surgeries have the advantage of reducing the extent of surgical injury and preserving patient’s quality of life. They should be the treatment of choice for primary pilonidal disease