How Much Does Pilonidal Cyst Surgery Cost?

Last Updated on March 17, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

If you’ve been diagnosed with a pilonidal cyst, you may be wondering what treatment will cost. This potentially painful condition occurs in the crease between the buttocks and often requires surgery for removal. What should you budget for pilonidal cyst surgery? This guide covers average prices, factors affecting cost, insurance coverage and tips for managing expenses.

A pilonidal cyst is an abnormal pocket in the skin that contains hair, skin debris and fluid. The cysts result from ingrown hairs and can become irritated or infected. Small cysts may be treated with antibiotics. But large or recurring cysts usually need surgical removal. Otherwise, a painful abscess may develop.

Surgery provides permanent relief by excising the cyst and closing the wound so it won’t return. But this common procedure comes at a price. Keep reading to learn what to expect when budgeting for pilonidal cyst removal.

How Much Does Pilonidal Cyst Surgery Cost?

The average cost of pilonidal cyst surgery is $3,000 to $8,000 without insurance. Simple drainage of an abscess costs less, from $500 to $1,500. More complex procedures like a cleft lift range from $5,000 to $10,000. The exact price varies based on the:

  • Surgical technique used
  • Extent of the cyst
  • Geographic location
  • Individual surgeon’s rates

PilonidalExpert.com discusses the cost of pilonidal cyst surgery, stating that it can range from $2,000 to $10,000 or more in the United States. The price is influenced by factors like the surgeon’s experience, type of surgery, and insurance coverage.

Turquoise Health mentions that the average cash price for incision and drainage of a pilonidal cyst is $1,053, but costs can vary depending on location and insurance coverage. The website allows users to search for nearby providers and compare rates.

Medicare.gov provides information on the cost of simple excision of a pilonidal cyst, with the insured patient paying an average of $267. This cost may vary based on the facility where the procedure is performed.

Pilonidal.org discusses surgical costs related to pilonidal cyst treatment, mentioning that prices can range from $100 to $400 for lancings, $500 to $2,000 for conservative treatments, $3,000 to $6,000 for excision treatments, and $10,000 to $30,000 for flap surgeries.

The website emphasizes the importance of negotiating fees and understanding the factors that contribute to surgical costs.

Talk to your surgeon and healthcare facility to get an accurate estimate for your specific situation.

Factors Influencing Surgery Costs

Several variables affect the total price of pilonidal cyst removal:

  • Type of procedure – More invasive surgery costs more.
  • Location – Prices are higher in major metro areas.
  • Surgeon experience – Board-certified surgeons charge more per hour.
  • Anesthesia needs – General anesthesia is pricier than local.
  • Facility fees – Surgery at a hospital is more expensive than at an outpatient center.
  • Insurance coverage – Uninsured patients pay more out-of-pocket.
  • Extent of cyst – Larger, more complex cysts require longer surgery.
  • Post-op care – Follow-up wound care or complications add expenses.

Talk to your surgeon about these factors to understand what drives the estimate you receive.

Checking Your Insurance Coverage

Most health insurance plans cover pilonidal cyst surgery since it’s medically necessary. But policies have different deductibles, copays, and reimbursement rates.

  • Call your insurance company to check your coverage details.
  • Find out if the surgeon and facility are in-network to minimize out-of-pocket costs.
  • Ask about any preauthorization requirements for surgery approval.
  • Review your plan’s policy on secondary infections or wound revisions.
  • Understand your total out-of-pocket responsibility so you can budget accurately.

Getting pre-approved for surgery and using in-network providers keeps your share of the cost as low as possible.

Preparing for Surgery Costs

Once you know your potential costs, take steps to prepare:

  • Account for deductibles, copays, and coinsurance in your budget.
  • Speak to the billing office about payment plan options if needed.
  • Look into financing like personal loans or credit cards for large out-of-pocket costs.
  • Ask about financial assistance programs offered by hospitals or nonprofits if you qualify.
  • Use tax-advantaged accounts like FSAs or HSAs to save for medical expenses.

Proper financial planning allows you to focus on recovery rather than worry about surgery bills.

The Pilonidal Cyst Removal Procedure

There are several surgical techniques to remove pilonidal cysts:


This is the most common method. The surgeon numbs the area with local anesthetic, makes an incision to cut out the cyst, and closes the wound with stitches. It has a high satisfaction rate but a recurrence risk. Cost is $3,000 to $5,000.

Laser Excision

A laser is used to vaporize the cyst tissue. It typically costs $4,000 to $7,000. The laser can minimize bleeding and speed healing.

Cleft Lift

This reconstructive surgery flattens and closes the cleft between the buttocks where cysts form. While more invasive, the $8,000 to $10,000 cost may be worthwhile since recurrence rates are low.

Discuss options with your surgeon to choose the best procedure based on cyst severity, cost and recovery.

What to Expect During Recovery

Plan for 1-4 weeks of recovery after pilonidal cyst surgery:

  • Limit sitting and stay lying on your stomach as much as possible initially.
  • Expect pain and discomfort for several days, managed with medication.
  • Keep the area very clean to prevent infection and change bandages regularly.
  • Avoid reopening the incision during daily activities.
  • See your surgeon to remove stitches and monitor proper healing.
  • Watch for signs of poor healing like blood or pus from the wound.
  • Call your doctor if you experience fever, swelling, severe pain or other issues.

Proper wound care and limiting activity foster proper healing. But monitor closely for any problems requiring prompt follow-up treatment.

You might also like our articles about the cost of treating Milia, sebaceous cysts, or warts.

Potential Pilonidal Cyst Surgery Complications

While usually effective, keep in mind risks like:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Recurrence of cysts
  • Abscess formation
  • Scar tissue buildup

Serious complications are rare with proper surgical technique. But the area may remain prone to cysts, so good hygiene and hair removal practices are important long-term.

Paying for Pilonidal Cyst Surgery

What is a Pilonidal CystectomyA few options to cover surgery costs include:

  • Health insurance – Use in-network providers and understand your cost share.
  • Payment plans – Offered by many hospitals and clinics.
  • Financing – Explore personal medical loans or 0% credit cards.
  • Financial assistance – Available through some hospitals for qualified applicants.
  • Government programs – Medicaid, military insurance or disability benefits if eligible.
  • Crowdfunding – Friends and family may donate to campaigns.

Seeking financial counseling allows you to pay for surgery responsibly based on your situation.

Partners for Pilonidal Cyst Treatment

Key providers involved in surgery may include:

  • General surgeon or dermatologist to perform the cyst removal
  • Anesthesiologist for sedation if general anesthesia is used
  • Nurses to assist before, during and after surgery
  • Pathologist to analyze cyst tissue
  • Hospital or outpatient surgery center where procedure occurs
  • Insurance company to process claims and cover costs
  • Pharmacist to fill any necessary prescriptions

Assemble a support team you trust to provide coordinated, affordable care.

Final Words

While dealing with this painful and frustrating condition, you can minimize the financial burden through smart preparation. Now that you know what to expect for pilonidal cyst surgery costs with and without insurance, you can budget wisely.

Seek price estimates upfront, confirm your coverage, and discuss payment options with your healthcare team. Rest assured that permanent cyst removal is possible without breaking the bank if you plan diligently.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is pilonidal cyst surgery worth it?

Getting surgery to remove a pilonidal cyst is usually worth it to prevent recurrent infections and relieve symptoms. Surgical removal has a high success rate and allows most patients to resume normal daily activities pain-free after recovering.

Without treatment, pilonidal cysts tend to refill with debris over time, leading to repeated pain and infection. The location between the buttocks makes the area prone to moisture and bacteria. Surgery removes the cyst pockets entirely so they cannot recur.

Despite the costs and recovery process, surgery provides a permanent solution and freedom from discomfort for most patients.

How urgent is pilonidal cyst surgery?

Pilonidal cyst removal is usually an elective, scheduled surgery not considered urgent or an emergency. Exceptions include a severely infected cyst causing extreme pain or an abscess that needs prompt drainage.

Otherwise, surgery can be planned in advance once diagnosed to accommodate the patient’s schedule and complete any insurance approvals. Acute infection or abscess formation makes prompt surgical intervention more urgent to relieve symptoms.

But the condition itself does not require immediate emergency surgery in most cases. There is typically time to talk through options and prepare for the operation.

Will the ER remove a pilonidal cyst?

The ER will not usually remove a pilonidal cyst during a visit. The ER focuses on stabilizing and treating emergent medical issues. A pilonidal cyst is considered an elective, non-life-threatening condition best managed through scheduling surgery with a general surgeon or dermatologist.

However, if a painful cyst abscess develops, the ER may drain the infection to temporarily relieve symptoms. But incising and draining the cyst does not provide definitive removal or stop recurrence. An ER visit also involves higher costs than seeing your regular doctor or surgeon.

So unless a cyst becomes severely infected, developing into an emergency medical issue, the ER will not remove the cyst fully. Their role is limited to infection management, not elective cyst removal surgery.

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