Hello all, After benefiting from the information posted on this website so much, I feel compelled to tell my ongoing story and to keep this thread updated as I continue my battle. Please feel free to ask me any questions you have about pilonidals. This first post will probably be a little long so bear with me. I'm a 26 year old male and have had two previous surgeries which failed to cure me of my pilonidal problem. Like most others, I knew I had a problem after seeing blood on toilet paper (May 2006). I immediately went to the doctor who diagnosed me with a pilonidal cyst and referred me to the local surgeon (small town in the southern USA). The surgeon confirmed the existence of a pilonidal sinus and said he could perform an open excision surgery, but I would have to remain in the hospital for up to 5 days afterwards because packing the wound would be 'extremely painful' and he wanted experienced nurses to do it for me. Needless to say I got a second opinion. The surgeon I saw next laughed when I told him what the first surgeon had told me, and said he could remove the cyst and stitch it up (closed excision) and that I would experience zero pain. He was correct. I let him perform the surgery and he removed the cyst, stitched me up, and I was healed within 7 weeks. Zero pain. However, 2 years later I again noticed blood on the toilet paper. At this point I knew the cyst was non life threatening so I waited a few years (2011) to have the surgery. I was living in a different town at this point in my life and again chose a local surgeon to perform the surgery. He told me that the previous surgeon must not have gotten all of the cyst and that's why it recurred. Again I was treated with a closed excision surgery, this time utilizing a drainage tube. After a month everything seemed well and that I was on my way to healing. The surgery was performed in December 2011. By the middle of February 2012 I noticed blood on toilet paper and intense itching in the area. The surgeon told me it was just where a small area was slow to heal and for me to not worry about it.... This is where the story gets interesting. In the beginning of March I moved to China, pursuing a dream of mine to travel the world. The surgeon knew about my plans and assured me I would be okay and that everything would heal fine. While in China I was absolutely okay for the first month when I noticed an extreme amount of clear fluid coming from the wound. I was able to take a picture of my wound which immediately freaked me out and made my way to the best surgeon in city I could find. He told me the cyst was back and that he could remove it, but I would have to stay in the hospital for a week. A week in a Chinese hospital with no close friends or family to take care of me...No thanks! I bought a one way ticket back to the USA, bought some individual insurance and scheduled an appointment with a trusted surgeon in my home state. This surgeon recommended an open excision surgery which would have to be packed daily. I accepted and scheduled the surgery (June 13, 2012). However, during a night of critical thinking about my predicament (something I should have done much earlier!) I decided to scour the internet for as much information as I could find about pilondal cysts and the people who are suffering from them. I was amazed to see how many people have had difficulty resolving their issues, and realized that I was one of those people! I read intensely about the cleft lift procedure and even phoned Dr. Rosengart in Pennsylvania and Dr. Bascom (cleft lift inventor) and talked with them personally about my situation and the benefits of cleft lift. I then scheduled an appointment with my current surgeon and asked him questions about he cleft lift, which he absolutely knew nothing about. I was amazed. How could long time practicing surgeons not be educated on the latest surgical methods, especially seeing how they were producing positive results. There is no lack of scientific research and articles in medical journals about the cleft lift procedure. Anyway, with my new found knowledge of the cleft lift procedure I hastily cancelled my open excision surgery and scheduled an appointment with a cleft lift practicing surgeon in Nashville named Dr. Hueneke. He is a 5 hour drive away. My consultation is tomorrow, June 19th 2012. Besides wanting to see if I'm a good candidate for cleft lift, I intend to ask him his approach to treating pilonidals and what he knows of the recurrence rates for his patients. I will document my consultation, potential surgery, healing, and future experiences with this disease, cured or not cured. This website has been such a big help for me and I want to help others who are going through this. Leist22 LESSONS LEARNED SO FAR: 1) Don't blindly trust your surgeon. Empower yourself by learning about this disease and treatment options from online resources, medical journals, and talking with knowledgeable surgeons. 2) Pilonidal cysts will not kill you. Do not rush into excision surgery unless you MUST. Take time to educate yourself so you can make informed decisions on how you want to solve your problem.