Susan Stanford

Very Helpful
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I am also able to highly, highly recommend Dr. Sternberg, as recommended in several previous posts by others. My son had 4 previous excision surgeries (over 6 1/2 years) with chronic non-healing wounds despite the efforts of wound care professionals. Dr. Sternberg performed a cleft lift on my son which repaired all previous damage. I am still in awe at the healing that has taken place. He never needed pain pills (he has a high pain tolerance from other surgeries), was able to walk that day, and return to work in a week. In addition to being a highly trained surgeon and an expert in pilonidal disease and the cleft lift, Dr. Sternberg is incredibly compassionate, humble, soft-spoken, and a great listener. His website is the most informative resource that I have found on pilonidal disease: www.pilonidalsurgery.com. We traveled over 2000 miles to see him - worth every penny.

Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg
MD, FACS, FASCRS
The Sternberg Clinic
77 Van Ness Avenue
Suite 302
San Francisco, CA. 94102
415-821-8000
 

Roblifetime

New Member
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Dr. Sternberg is a world class, expert surgeon for Pilonidal, specializing in the cleft lift procedure. When people say "my doctor is the world's best" - for Pilonidal that means Dr. Sternberg. I had the cleft lift surgery from him this year and echo everyone's sentiment: Dr. Sternberg has a stellar reputation here on pilonidal.org (message boards, FAQ, etc.), he's a consummate professional with calming style in person, great at walking you through every step, and expert at the actual procedure. My recovery was exactly the expectations he set - minor discomfort in the week following the surgery, but no major pain - and I'm a bonafide wimp with pain. My main challenge was deciding what to binge watch the main week of recovery (The Americans, all 6 seasons won!). If you suffer from Pilonidal, or know anyone that does, please consider going to Dr. Sternberg.

Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg MD, FACS, FASCRS
The Sternberg Clinic
77 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA. 94102
415-821-8000

Check out his website here: https://www.pilonidalsurgery.com

Rob
 

RyNorCal

New Member
Country flag
I have had multiple appointments and meetings with Dr. Sternberg since 2014, when I was first diagnosed with pilonidal disease. The first time I met Dr. Sternberg was during my initial “flare up” on my pilonidal cyst. I had gone to the ER, which refused to drain an abscess they were unfamiliar with, then proceeded to go to colorectal doctor in San Jose, who also refused to drain the abscess due to it “not being ready”. A few days later I was in Dr. Sternberg’s office, he immediately drained the abscess and discussed my long term option for pilonidal disease. He was extremely professional and left me feeling that I had reasonable options to deal with this disease. Following the initial draining, I had no issues or flare ups for two full years. By the time another occurred I had already moved out of the bay area and was lucky enough to find a physician who drained the abscess twice. After having have a constantly draining cyst for nearly 8-months, I contacted Dr. Sternberg again to set up a Cleft Lift surgery consultation.

The consultation was straightforward, a review of my particular case and setting a date for the surgery, this was all done quickly. The front office staff (Andrea & Emon) where absolutely incredible working with me. They helped me schedule each appointment, surgery and post-op with Dr. Sternberg. In addition, they worked with me on my insurance (which refused to cover the out of network surgery) and gave me all the details of the surgical cost, out-patient facility cost and anesthesia cost. While I did pay out of pocket, they helped me understand my payment options and timing. They answered every question I had or directed my questions to Dr. Sternberg who responded quickly.

Surgery day came around and I found myself at Presidio Surgery Center first thing on a Tuesday morning. The outpatient surgery center was professional, clean, quick and responded to all my inquiries within a reasonable time. I was pretty comfortable during my time there. They have nurses who take care of each step to prepare you for surgery. Prior to going into the operation room, I met quickly with the anesthesiologist (who was awesome) and Dr. Sternberg. I was able to get any last minute nervous questions out before the surgery.

The surgery itself was a total blur, depending on your case you may go under full anesthesia or (what I believe is more common) get a spinal block. For me, this was the most nerve racking part. Do yourself a favor and don’t YouTube spinal blocks, just read about them. Mine was totally painless, prior to getting the shot itself, my anesthesiologist gave me what he called “surgical Gatorade”, which was really a shot into my IV that made me a bit light headed and definitely sucked the nerves away. I don’t even remember the actual spinal block. Next thing I know, I wake up in the post op recovery room. I felt pretty good, only concerning part of waking up was the numbness in my legs (spinal block) which took about an hour to go away. I was able to walk with no problems and had very minimal pain. I had a post op the next day with Dr. Sternberg where we went through the recovery process and steps to take to ensure proper healing (a boatload of gauze pads, paper tape and “rolling the flap”).
For me, the recovery process was nearly painless (or at least a 100% less painful than having an active pilonidal cyst). You go through lots of gauze and tape, the rolling of the flap does not hurt significantly, more or less feels like pushing on a bruise. I was essentially given an antibiotic (for the open wound/surgical site/potential infection etc.), ibuprofen for swelling and a narcotic for pain. You are required to finish the antibiotic and ibuprofen, but take the narcotic as needed. I think I took 3 OxyContin pills in total and never more than ½ at a time, I’m also a pretty big dude, so I clearly wasn’t in a ton of pain. I encourage everyone to destroy (ask your pharmacist how) narcotic pills once you are no longer using them for this surgeries pain management, those things are no joke. The longest portion of the recovery was the drain hole, which took about 3-4 weeks to close up after the drain was removed.

I am now approximately 50 days clear of surgery, everything is closed and healed up. In fact, I was able to start power lifting, biking and running at about day 40 (would have been earlier but I was waiting for the drain hole to close). I feel amazing, no pain, a little numbness, but pretty dang good. I can sit for long periods, put weight on my tail bone and no longer worry about a long flight or car ride. I highly encourage anyone suffering from pilonidal disease to reach out to the Sternberg Clinic, they have honestly changed my life.
 

RyNorCal

New Member
Country flag
Also, for those interested, I will do my best to respond to any questions ya'll have about my experience.

Best,

RyN
 
I just want to share my experience with Dr. Sternberg. In my experience he was pushing me to go for the Cleft lift procedure and his explanation of pit picking was 'old school' i.e. as described in the first paper from Dr. Bascom, pit picking has evolved much more since then and now Dr. Bascom (son of Dr. Bascom) excises the whole tunnel while pit picking. That's the procedure I decided to have and have been disease free for over 3 years now.

Cleft lift is a considerably more involving procedure than pit picking as Dr. Bascom (and some other up-to-date surgeons perform it) so should not be the first treatment modality. Just my two cents.
 

415gd

New Member
Country flag
I just want to share my experience with Dr. Sternberg. In my experience he was pushing me to go for the Cleft lift procedure and his explanation of pit picking was 'old school' i.e. as described in the first paper from Dr. Bascom, pit picking has evolved much more since then and now Dr. Bascom (son of Dr. Bascom) excises the whole tunnel while pit picking. That's the procedure I decided to have and have been disease free for over 3 years now.

Cleft lift is a considerably more involving procedure than pit picking as Dr. Bascom (and some other up-to-date surgeons perform it) so should not be the first treatment modality. Just my two cents.
Where did you have the pit picking procedure?! All the surgeons I have spoken to have just given me an eye roll when I mention it and seem to only want to push for the cleft lift-which I am not interested in. Are there any surgeons in the Bay Area that perform pit picking?
 

Wantmylifeback

New Member
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:)As an addendum to the above post;
Please visit pilonidalsurgery.com for more information regarding Dr. Sternberg and the cleft lift procedure. This site further explains pilonidal disease and surgery with clarity and frankness. It has been eight months since my son's surgery by Dr. Sternberg and all is well. We couldn't be happier!
I’m hoping to be able to go to Dr. Sternberg some time this year. You mentioned that you paid out of pocket, would you be comfortable sharing a ballpark amount of how much the surgery was including the hospital fees? Thank you!
 

Wantmylifeback

New Member
Country flag
I have had multiple appointments and meetings with Dr. Sternberg since 2014, when I was first diagnosed with pilonidal disease. The first time I met Dr. Sternberg was during my initial “flare up” on my pilonidal cyst. I had gone to the ER, which refused to drain an abscess they were unfamiliar with, then proceeded to go to colorectal doctor in San Jose, who also refused to drain the abscess due to it “not being ready”. A few days later I was in Dr. Sternberg’s office, he immediately drained the abscess and discussed my long term option for pilonidal disease. He was extremely professional and left me feeling that I had reasonable options to deal with this disease. Following the initial draining, I had no issues or flare ups for two full years. By the time another occurred I had already moved out of the bay area and was lucky enough to find a physician who drained the abscess twice. After having have a constantly draining cyst for nearly 8-months, I contacted Dr. Sternberg again to set up a Cleft Lift surgery consultation.

The consultation was straightforward, a review of my particular case and setting a date for the surgery, this was all done quickly. The front office staff (Andrea & Emon) where absolutely incredible working with me. They helped me schedule each appointment, surgery and post-op with Dr. Sternberg. In addition, they worked with me on my insurance (which refused to cover the out of network surgery) and gave me all the details of the surgical cost, out-patient facility cost and anesthesia cost. While I did pay out of pocket, they helped me understand my payment options and timing. They answered every question I had or directed my questions to Dr. Sternberg who responded quickly.

Surgery day came around and I found myself at Presidio Surgery Center first thing on a Tuesday morning. The outpatient surgery center was professional, clean, quick and responded to all my inquiries within a reasonable time. I was pretty comfortable during my time there. They have nurses who take care of each step to prepare you for surgery. Prior to going into the operation room, I met quickly with the anesthesiologist (who was awesome) and Dr. Sternberg. I was able to get any last minute nervous questions out before the surgery.

The surgery itself was a total blur, depending on your case you may go under full anesthesia or (what I believe is more common) get a spinal block. For me, this was the most nerve racking part. Do yourself a favor and don’t YouTube spinal blocks, just read about them. Mine was totally painless, prior to getting the shot itself, my anesthesiologist gave me what he called “surgical Gatorade”, which was really a shot into my IV that made me a bit light headed and definitely sucked the nerves away. I don’t even remember the actual spinal block. Next thing I know, I wake up in the post op recovery room. I felt pretty good, only concerning part of waking up was the numbness in my legs (spinal block) which took about an hour to go away. I was able to walk with no problems and had very minimal pain. I had a post op the next day with Dr. Sternberg where we went through the recovery process and steps to take to ensure proper healing (a boatload of gauze pads, paper tape and “rolling the flap”).
For me, the recovery process was nearly painless (or at least a 100% less painful than having an active pilonidal cyst). You go through lots of gauze and tape, the rolling of the flap does not hurt significantly, more or less feels like pushing on a bruise. I was essentially given an antibiotic (for the open wound/surgical site/potential infection etc.), ibuprofen for swelling and a narcotic for pain. You are required to finish the antibiotic and ibuprofen, but take the narcotic as needed. I think I took 3 OxyContin pills in total and never more than ½ at a time, I’m also a pretty big dude, so I clearly wasn’t in a ton of pain. I encourage everyone to destroy (ask your pharmacist how) narcotic pills once you are no longer using them for this surgeries pain management, those things are no joke. The longest portion of the recovery was the drain hole, which took about 3-4 weeks to close up after the drain was removed.

I am now approximately 50 days clear of surgery, everything is closed and healed up. In fact, I was able to start power lifting, biking and running at about day 40 (would have been earlier but I was waiting for the drain hole to close). I feel amazing, no pain, a little numbness, but pretty dang good. I can sit for long periods, put weight on my tail bone and no longer worry about a long flight or car ride. I highly encourage anyone suffering from pilonidal disease to reach out to the Sternberg Clinic, they have honestly changed my life.
You said you paid out of pocket for the procedure, could you ballpark how much that was? I want to see Dr. Sternberg but his office no longer accepts insurance so I would need to do it out of pocket as well. Thank you for any insight!
 

Wantmylifeback

New Member
Country flag
Dr. Sternberg is a world class, expert surgeon for Pilonidal, specializing in the cleft lift procedure. When people say "my doctor is the world's best" - for Pilonidal that means Dr. Sternberg. I had the cleft lift surgery from him this year and echo everyone's sentiment: Dr. Sternberg has a stellar reputation here on pilonidal.org (message boards, FAQ, etc.), he's a consummate professional with calming style in person, great at walking you through every step, and expert at the actual procedure. My recovery was exactly the expectations he set - minor discomfort in the week following the surgery, but no major pain - and I'm a bonafide wimp with pain. My main challenge was deciding what to binge watch the main week of recovery (The Americans, all 6 seasons won!). If you suffer from Pilonidal, or know anyone that does, please consider going to Dr. Sternberg.

Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg MD, FACS, FASCRS
The Sternberg Clinic
77 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA. 94102
415-821-8000

Check out his website here: https://www.pilonidalsurgery.com

Rob
How soon were you able to go back to work? I’m a teacher and wouldn’t be able to take much, if any, time off.
 
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