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Pilonidal dimple

Contents of this page:


Anatomical landmarks, back view
Anatomical landmarks, back view
Pilonidal cyst and dimple
Pilonidal cyst and dimple

Alternative Names    Return to top

Sacral dimple

Definition    Return to top

A pilonidal dimple is a small pit or hollow area (sinus) in the area at the very top of the crease between the buttocks (sacral area).

Considerations    Return to top

Most pilonidal dimples are harmless pits of small depressions that are present from birth. There may be increased hairiness around the area.

The pilonidal dimple may also be a deep tract, rather than a shallow depression, leading to a hollow space (sinus) that may contain hair. These can become infected and drain. On rare occasions, the sinus may extend into the spinal cord.

During adolescence, the dimple or tract may become infected, forming what is called a pilonidal abscess. It is also called a pilonidal cyst, although a true cyst may not be present. These may require surgical drainage or total removal to prevent reinfection.

Causes    Return to top

Home Care    Return to top

Keep pilonidal dimples clean and free of debris during regular bathing. Report any drainage of fluid from the dimple, either clear or containing pus, to your health care provider.

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

Call your health care provider if you notice swelling, redness, drainage or tenderness around the pilonidal dimple.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit    Return to top

You will be asked for your medical history and given a physical examination. In the vast majority of cases, the examining physician will merely comment that you or your infant or child has a pilonidal dimple and that you should not worry. Sometimes you may be asked for the following information:

If there is infection present, you or your child may need surgery to address the abscess or cyst. Studies may be done to determine if the pilonidal dimple or sinus extends to the spinal cord.

Update Date: 2/5/2008

Updated by: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Associate, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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