Is My Surgeon Really A True Pilonidal Surgeon?
The question to ask of any prospective surgeon offering to treat your pilonidal disease is definitely not “How many pilonidal surgeries have you performed?” The answer is often inflated. The more revealing question to ask is “What percentage of your practice does pilonidal disease comprise?” The answer must be >75%, or you have not found a true pilonidal surgeon.
Many plastic, colorectal, pediatric, and general surgeons in the US claim to be proficient at pilonidal treatment, despite consistently poor results. These claims are made in the context of actually low surgical volumes for these physicians. These claims are built on an underestimation of the challenges presented by the disease and its treatments.
A proper cleft-lift is not taught in American general surgery training programs. There are no additional pilonidal fellowship programs available in the US. Most surprising, there are no short “for surgeon-taught by surgeon” courses in our country. The cleft-lift is only properly learned when a previously trained surgeon takes interest, seeks out and receives individual mentorship, and performs the procedure in high volume and in an appropriately self-critical way.
To be clear, there are probably less than 10 dedicated pilonidal surgeons in the US in 2021. Brief internet research will quickly elucidate this point, and help to identify a surgeon most geographically preferable to you.