The management of pilonidal disease: A systematic review

Julia Grabowski*, Tolulope A. Oyetunji, Adam B. Goldin, Robert Baird, Ankush Gosain, Dave R. Lal, Akemi Kawaguchi, Cynthia Downard, Juan E. Sola, L. Grier Arthur, Julia Shelton, Karen A. Diefenbach, Lorraine I. Kelley-Quon, Regan F. Williams, Robert L. Ricca, Roshni Dasgupta, Shawn D. St. Peter, Stig Sømme, Yigit S. Guner, Tim Jancelewicz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: The goal of this systematic review by the American Pediatric Surgical Association Outcomes and Evidence-Based Practice Committee was to derive recommendations from the medical literature regarding the management of pilonidal disease. Methods: The PubMed, Cochrane, Embase, Web of Science, and Scopus databases from 1965 through June 2017 were queried for any papers addressing operative or non-operative management of pilonidal disease. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed. Consensus recommendations were derived for three questions based on the best available evidence, and a clinical practice guideline was constructed. Results: A total of 193 articles were fully analyzed. Some non-operative and minimally invasive techniques have outcomes at least equivalent to operative management. Minimal surgical procedures (Gips procedure, sinusectomy) may be more appropriate as first-line treatment than radical excision due to faster recovery and patient preference, with acceptable recurrence rates. Excision with midline closure should be avoided. For recurrent or persistent disease, any type of flap repair is acceptable and preferred by patients over healing by secondary intention. There is a lack of literature dedicated to the pediatric patient. Conclusions: There is a definitive trend towards less invasive procedures for the treatment of pilonidal disease, with equivalent or better outcomes compared with classic excision. Midline closure should no longer be the standard surgical approach. Type of study: Systematic review of level 1–4 studies. Level of evidence: Level 1–4 (mainly level 3–4).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2210-2221
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Adolescent
  • Pediatric
  • Pilonidal
  • Sinusectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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