Is my Pilonidal Cyst Doctor Trained?

The following PTCNJ checklist is intended to help the pilonidal patient find a truly competent cleft-lift surgeon.

In American general surgery training programs today, flawed and dated pilonidal cyst removal techniques are taught. Further, there are no surgical subspecialty fellowships focused on pilonidal disease. A genuine cleft-lift is only mastered by a fully trained surgeon who, into their practice, seeks out direct interpersonal mentorship, and then repeats the surgery in high volume. Unfortunately, the majority of doctors performing pilonidal cyst removal surgery in the US today are ill-trained in the cleft-lift procedure.

The following checklist is intended for all pilonidal patients in search of the right surgeon. It is dedicated to those who have needlessly suffered. It can be applied not only to the physicians at PTCNJ, but also to any outside physician being considered for pilonidal care. If a check cannot be placed next to each and every item, obtain one additional surgical opinion, and do this until you have found a surgeon for whom all items can be confidently checked. Ask all of these questions and more!

PTCNJ Surgeon Checklist

  • The doctor plans to perform your surgery alone, without the aid of a plastic surgeon.
  • The doctor dedicates at least 50% of their practice to pilonidal cyst disease.
  • The doctor knows before surgery exactly how much tissue he will be removing. Findings during surgery bear less relevance.
  • The doctor feels that pilonidal cyst is a completely curable disease.
  • The doctor does not order preoperative imaging, but hinges diagnosis on physical exam findings.
  • The doctor gives a longterm success rate of 97% or more following cleft-lift.
  • The doctor never attributes wound failure to incomplete removal of a pilonidal cyst.
  • The doctor places patients on no more than 6 weeks of postoperative restrictions.
  • The doctor makes “after” photographs available for prospective patients to see.
  • The doctor does not make referrals to a local wound care center.


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