Pilonidal Excision (open) for a Gym Rat

Gym Rat

New Member
#1
Hello everybody! This is my first post! I’ll dive right in to the details from when I first noticed my cyst to now, 10 days after my surgery! If you’re only interested in my surgery and healing process, I’ll break this text into two sections and you can read the second one.

Pre-Surgery:

I am 20, almost 21, 6’1”, roughly 215 pounds and roughly 16-19% body fat at the time of surgery. I first noticed my cyst in middle school while doing sit ups. I figured it was just my tailbone and that sit ups hurt everybody. After all, I had no idea I could get a cyst there! A few years later, an older friend of mine was talking about getting his removed and to my shock, his surgery occurred in the same spot where my tailbone hurt! I went to get it checked out, but the doctor didn’t seem very concerned and told me he found nothing wrong. (Thanks doc) fast forward to my sophomore year of college (I’m now headed into my second semester of junior year) and I noticed two things. One was that I was draining something onto my underwear and two was that I had developed two sinuses. The sinuses wild always drain and I’d pull chunks of hair out. I knew by this point that I had a problem and needed to get it taken care of.

Surgery:

On Dec 22, I was put under light anesthetic and had my cyst removed by Dr. Henkel, a general surgeon (I believe) who operates out of Madison. The cyst ended up being much larger than she expected and I was left with a wound very high on my butt crack (very far from my anus). I believe it was about an inch to an inch and a half deep and the size of 1 and a half to 2 golf balls wide. Upon waking up from the surgery I was in no pain and was sent home after a total time of roughly 5 or 6 hours at the hospital. There was no pain for the rest of the day. The next day was rough, I tried unpacking my own gauze, passed out, and woke up to my dad standing over me telling me to wake up. The entire gauze switching process took in total about 3 hours. Thankfully, a family member is a surgical tech and helped swap my gauze for the first few days. I took an Oxycodone and was relatively painless. I still had not had a bowel movement since the surgery. I was afraid of squatting down for obvious reasons. The next few days were pretty rough, but I didn’t need painkillers for the most part. Just a Tylenol or Advil every now and then. The fourth and fifth days, for whatever reason, were awful. I couldn’t move without wanting to scream in pain but we continued packing and following the Dr’s orders. On day 8 I realized I could sit comfortably on hard surfaces. Soft surfaces seem to put too much pressure on the wound. On day 9, I went back to the gym for the first time and hit my chest and triceps muscles. The only difficulty I had was with the benches but it was only uncomfortable, not painful. Today, I did a heavy leg day with zero pain or discomfort. Squatting doesn’t cause me any pain or discomfort and nothing feels like it’s tearing. I believe this is because of the location of my wound.

Final Notes:

I noticed there were not many fitness related threads on here, atleast none that I could find, and so I wanted to make one for those avid gym-goers who are afraid that this surgery may ruin their fitness. In my opinion, so far, the pain that having the cyst caused me far outweighs any pain I have had post surgery. I believe I am healing relatively quickly because I do drink several bottles of water a day and consume large amounts of clean sources of carbs, fats, and protein. I’m also making sure to get, at the very least, 8 hours of sleep. Feel free to respond and ask questions or make comments! Thanks for reading my story!
 
#2
Hello everybody! This is my first post! I’ll dive right in to the details from when I first noticed my cyst to now, 10 days after my surgery! If you’re only interested in my surgery and healing process, I’ll break this text into two sections and you can read the second one.

Pre-Surgery:

I am 20, almost 21, 6’1”, roughly 215 pounds and roughly 16-19% body fat at the time of surgery. I first noticed my cyst in middle school while doing sit ups. I figured it was just my tailbone and that sit ups hurt everybody. After all, I had no idea I could get a cyst there! A few years later, an older friend of mine was talking about getting his removed and to my shock, his surgery occurred in the same spot where my tailbone hurt! I went to get it checked out, but the doctor didn’t seem very concerned and told me he found nothing wrong. (Thanks doc) fast forward to my sophomore year of college (I’m now headed into my second semester of junior year) and I noticed two things. One was that I was draining something onto my underwear and two was that I had developed two sinuses. The sinuses wild always drain and I’d pull chunks of hair out. I knew by this point that I had a problem and needed to get it taken care of.

Surgery:

On Dec 22, I was put under light anesthetic and had my cyst removed by Dr. Henkel, a general surgeon (I believe) who operates out of Madison. The cyst ended up being much larger than she expected and I was left with a wound very high on my butt crack (very far from my anus). I believe it was about an inch to an inch and a half deep and the size of 1 and a half to 2 golf balls wide. Upon waking up from the surgery I was in no pain and was sent home after a total time of roughly 5 or 6 hours at the hospital. There was no pain for the rest of the day. The next day was rough, I tried unpacking my own gauze, passed out, and woke up to my dad standing over me telling me to wake up. The entire gauze switching process took in total about 3 hours. Thankfully, a family member is a surgical tech and helped swap my gauze for the first few days. I took an Oxycodone and was relatively painless. I still had not had a bowel movement since the surgery. I was afraid of squatting down for obvious reasons. The next few days were pretty rough, but I didn’t need painkillers for the most part. Just a Tylenol or Advil every now and then. The fourth and fifth days, for whatever reason, were awful. I couldn’t move without wanting to scream in pain but we continued packing and following the Dr’s orders. On day 8 I realized I could sit comfortably on hard surfaces. Soft surfaces seem to put too much pressure on the wound. On day 9, I went back to the gym for the first time and hit my chest and triceps muscles. The only difficulty I had was with the benches but it was only uncomfortable, not painful. Today, I did a heavy leg day with zero pain or discomfort. Squatting doesn’t cause me any pain or discomfort and nothing feels like it’s tearing. I believe this is because of the location of my wound.

Final Notes:

I noticed there were not many fitness related threads on here, atleast none that I could find, and so I wanted to make one for those avid gym-goers who are afraid that this surgery may ruin their fitness. In my opinion, so far, the pain that having the cyst caused me far outweighs any pain I have had post surgery. I believe I am healing relatively quickly because I do drink several bottles of water a day and consume large amounts of clean sources of carbs, fats, and protein. I’m also making sure to get, at the very least, 8 hours of sleep. Feel free to respond and ask questions or make comments! Thanks for reading my story!
glad you're feeling better
 
#4
Thanks! Have you bit the bullet and scheduled surgery yet?!
not quite. ive been discussing options with a dr in PA. its 436 miles away. but theres arent really options sround me with experienced drs. so ive started putting money away for a plane ticket and hotel. my initial visit will see he thinks pit picking will work. if so he will do it right there.. if not then we will have to schedule a surgery before my 25th birthday in August. ( trying to work out insurance or payment since its out of network)
 
#5
Hi to both of you!

I live in Germany and 2 days before Christmas I had an abscess near my butt, I went to the doctor since it appeared in a matter of 3 days and then it kind of exploded by itself. The doctor sent me immediately to the clinic he said it was a pilonidal cyst with an abscess. I went to ER and they cut me, immediately I felt better. However, I have been going regularly to the ER for check-ups and cleansing of the tiny wound and there they told me I would not need a surgery. Today I went to a surgeon and he said it was healing good but he thinks I would have to get cut and that I need to prepare myself for it. I have the next check up in 15 days to see how is it healing I guess. The only problem I see is that I live alone and really don´t know how to take care of the wound since is in the back and can´t see in that spot properly. How do you clean the wound? how often? how do you poop? how long would it take to heal? I am so worried and trying to avoid the topic but guess I have to confront it. How long would it take in order to go back to work?

Thank you for your reply and support!

BR,
Andres
 
#6
Hi to both of you!

I live in Germany and 2 days before Christmas I had an abscess near my butt, I went to the doctor since it appeared in a matter of 3 days and then it kind of exploded by itself. The doctor sent me immediately to the clinic he said it was a pilonidal cyst with an abscess. I went to ER and they cut me, immediately I felt better. However, I have been going regularly to the ER for check-ups and cleansing of the tiny wound and there they told me I would not need a surgery. Today I went to a surgeon and he said it was healing good but he thinks I would have to get cut and that I need to prepare myself for it. I have the next check up in 15 days to see how is it healing I guess. The only problem I see is that I live alone and really don´t know how to take care of the wound since is in the back and can´t see in that spot properly. How do you clean the wound? how often? how do you poop? how long would it take to heal? I am so worried and trying to avoid the topic but guess I have to confront it. How long would it take in order to go back to work?

Thank you for your reply and support!

BR,
Andres
i had a visiting nurse come clean and pack it
 
#7
Hi to both of you!

I live in Germany and 2 days before Christmas I had an abscess near my butt, I went to the doctor since it appeared in a matter of 3 days and then it kind of exploded by itself. The doctor sent me immediately to the clinic he said it was a pilonidal cyst with an abscess. I went to ER and they cut me, immediately I felt better. However, I have been going regularly to the ER for check-ups and cleansing of the tiny wound and there they told me I would not need a surgery. Today I went to a surgeon and he said it was healing good but he thinks I would have to get cut and that I need to prepare myself for it. I have the next check up in 15 days to see how is it healing I guess. The only problem I see is that I live alone and really don´t know how to take care of the wound since is in the back and can´t see in that spot properly. How do you clean the wound? how often? how do you poop? how long would it take to heal? I am so worried and trying to avoid the topic but guess I have to confront it. How long would it take in order to go back to work?

Thank you for your reply and support!

BR,
Andres
It different for everyone really, it depends on the area of the cyst. Mine were higher on my back so going to the wash room after surgery hasn't been an issue. When I shower the hospital gave me a bunch of clear sticky pads that I put over the bandage so I can shower. As far as cleaning, everyday I have a nurse come in, remove the bandage, remove the packing and they clean it with saline then pack it and bandage it. I had an open excision, its still not healed but it hasn't been that long. I had it on the 14th of December. The Dr's and nurses think with how fast my body heals I will be able to do most if not all things I normally do by mid to late January and they think late Jan to end of Feb is when the wound will be closed fully, if not minor healing will be left but I can resume normal duties. So 2 to 3 ish months or so. A lot of that depends on how fit a person is, where its located (closer to the anus, on the midline, etc, etc) and how well you maintain it.
 

Gym Rat

New Member
#8
Pooping is easy if the wound is higher up, but I can’t speak for if the wound is lower. I clean it in the shower through the application of an antiseptic soap called Hibiclense and then irrigate my wound with my shower head. Getting back to work depends on how well you heal. I stayed out of the gym for 10 days, but I feel back to normal now, even with a wound in my tailbone. You may want to inquire about a home nurse or ask a friend to come help for the first week or so. My first packing experience was awful but it gets better. Trust me, the surgery isn’t as bad as people make it out to be.
 
#9
Pooping is easy if the wound is higher up, but I can’t speak for if the wound is lower. I clean it in the shower through the application of an antiseptic soap called Hibiclense and then irrigate my wound with my shower head. Getting back to work depends on how well you heal. I stayed out of the gym for 10 days, but I feel back to normal now, even with a wound in my tailbone. You may want to inquire about a home nurse or ask a friend to come help for the first week or so. My first packing experience was awful but it gets better. Trust me, the surgery isn’t as bad as people make it out to be.
I am curious about your gym time, I assume it was 10 days after the surgery then you went back to the gym. Did you hop right back into your normal routine or did you ease into it? I am about 26 days from when I had my surgery and I have been too worried about working out again, which is killing me because I do martial arts. If you have any advice to get back into the swing of things (IE: types of exercise like weights or whatever.) that would be greatly appreciated. I am going stir crazy not being able to work out and I want to get back into it as soon as possible even if its minor.
 
#10
I am curious about your gym time, I assume it was 10 days after the surgery then you went back to the gym. Did you hop right back into your normal routine or did you ease into it? I am about 26 days from when I had my surgery and I have been too worried about working out again, which is killing me because I do martial arts. If you have any advice to get back into the swing of things (IE: types of exercise like weights or whatever.) that would be greatly appreciated. I am going stir crazy not being able to work out and I want to get back into it as soon as possible even if its minor.
First and foremost, I made sure I was capable of the range of motion my lower body exercises required (bending over, squatting, etc.) during the rest days leading up to my return to the gym. I pretty much just jumped back into my normal routine but I am only 20, and my body can handle that kind of shock. If you’re older, I’d start easy. My biggest issue when first coming back was bench press, or any exercise that required sitting. It was uncomfortable getting on and off the bench but the exercise itself wasn’t that bad. Squats, deadlifts, seated quad extensions, and leg press weren’t much of an issue. I’m assuming this is because of the location of where the excision was (higher up on my crack). I used to do BJJ and would really suggest giving you wound time to heal fully before you returned to doing that. If your martial art has no ground game, and kicks don’t make you uncomfortable, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to return to some sort of training as soon as you felt better. My surgeon pretty much told me that you can do just about anything after the surgery without harming your wound, you just won’t want to because of the pain you’ll be in. It’s honestly just a matter of testing the waters before you jump in. My excision was left open, just so you know, and my experience has been pretty decent. Did any of that help?
 
#11
First and foremost, I made sure I was capable of the range of motion my lower body exercises required (bending over, squatting, etc.) during the rest days leading up to my return to the gym. I pretty much just jumped back into my normal routine but I am only 20, and my body can handle that kind of shock. If you’re older, I’d start easy. My biggest issue when first coming back was bench press, or any exercise that required sitting. It was uncomfortable getting on and off the bench but the exercise itself wasn’t that bad. Squats, deadlifts, seated quad extensions, and leg press weren’t much of an issue. I’m assuming this is because of the location of where the excision was (higher up on my crack). I used to do BJJ and would really suggest giving you wound time to heal fully before you returned to doing that. If your martial art has no ground game, and kicks don’t make you uncomfortable, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to return to some sort of training as soon as you felt better. My surgeon pretty much told me that you can do just about anything after the surgery without harming your wound, you just won’t want to because of the pain you’ll be in. It’s honestly just a matter of testing the waters before you jump in. My excision was left open, just so you know, and my experience has been pretty decent. Did any of that help?
Thank you very much for the response, yes it helped me, a lot actually.

You basically were in the same situation as me, my wound is higher up, it was left open and while I am not 20, I am still young at 33 and have been healing quickly. My nurse came yesterday and was stunned at how much my wound has healed in just a few days, the last day she saw me was about 3 days prior to yesterday. You probably had the same experiance, basically being fit, good blood pressure, good heart rate, eating protein, etc, etc. I am thinking that is why this situation has been easier on me when compared to other people.

I took your advice and pushed myself a little more at work to see what I could do and lo and behold, I could squat, lie down, bend and all the things I was worried about doing. You were right, it was about testing the waters and because of your advice I am going to start working out again and I plan on going back to training (Karate) probably next week or so. We do very little ground work unless people want to do it, which is why I wanted to get this damn surgery done in the first place. I wanted to be able to do ground work, break falls and all the good stuff associated with knocking people over. I will go easy with the kicks, but I can do more or less everything else which made my day better. The fact I can now do proper stretching is fantastic, I was worried about my kicks as I had finally just gotten them to a height I was satisfied with and was worried I just lost it all.

Thank you again for your advice and getting back to me, I appreciate it. Knowing I can start working out and training again made me much happier. Take care!
 
#12
Hi Guys,

First of all, I am very glad that someone talked in concern of fitness!

It's been a month that I had a cyst removed from my lower back and it has been left open. I am visiting my Doctor on daily basis from last 30 days for dressing where they remove the old gauze and fill the open wound with the new one.

I am a gym person and have been working out from last 2 years. I never expected that I'll have to go through this kind of situation and have to drop workout because of the surgery. But things happen and we have to face them anyway.

The only concern is that, if I'll again starting working out my wound may start bleeding as it's a very sensitive area, though I usually see some amount of puss and watery blood on my gauze on daily basis.


Please advise!

Thank you
 
#13
Hi Guys,

First of all, I am very glad that someone talked in concern of fitness!

It's been a month that I had a cyst removed from my lower back and it has been left open. I am visiting my Doctor on daily basis from last 30 days for dressing where they remove the old gauze and fill the open wound with the new one.

I am a gym person and have been working out from last 2 years. I never expected that I'll have to go through this kind of situation and have to drop workout because of the surgery. But things happen and we have to face them anyway.

The only concern is that, if I'll again starting working out my wound may start bleeding as it's a very sensitive area, though I usually see some amount of puss and watery blood on my gauze on daily basis.


Please advise!

Thank you
Try to go back and take it easy, thats what I did. Basically doing a bit every day and increasing intensity as I go. I am still having to bandage the wound but I don't have to pack it anymore. It's been 42 days since my surgery and it wasn't until the 9th of Jan, 27 days after my surgery that I started to work out, at that time I needed the wound packed everyday.

As it is, I go to work, come home, work out for a bit, shower then have the bandage changed. I am fortunate enough to have my wife do it so its a lot easier for me.

I haven't done anything too intense, I do Karate so I have been getting back into that with minimal kicking and minimal low stances however every single day I try to kick a bit higher then the day before and go into lower stances. I have mainly been doing weights and very little lower body.

I don't leak much anymore at all though, each persons body deals with this differently so all I can say is try it out at a minimal level and go up from there.
 
#14
Hi all.
Did you guys find out what caused the cyst to occur? Is it the hair or hormones? I’m asking because mine started since I started working and we know weight training causes a spike in testosterone. Could there be a link somehow?
 
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#15
Hi all.
Did you guys find out what caused the cyst to occur? Is it the hair or hormones? I’m asking because mine started since I started working and we know weight training causes a spike in testosterone. Could there be a link somehow?
Mine was a combo of things, I slipped and smashed the area on tile super hard so that combined with being a bit hairy and having sweating/chafing issues they developed. I have no idea about hormones. I wasn't actively working out until a few years after I had already had them.
 
#16
Mine was a combo of things, I slipped and smashed the area on tile super hard so that combined with being a bit hairy and having sweating/chafing issues they developed. I have no idea about hormones. I wasn't actively working out until a few years after I had already had them.
Thanks. I’m also hairy and just started waxing so I hope the waxing helps reduce the flare ups. I hate not being able to train. I also sweat a lot down there. I’ll provide feedback with regards to the waxing and if it helps.
 
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