How is pilonidal disease diagnosed?

Your doctor will begin by doing a full physical examination. A pilonidal infection should be visible by the naked eye. The doctor may see what looks like a pimple or oozing cyst. He or she may also ask you several questions, including:

  • Whether the cyst or pimple has changed in appearance
  • Whether it is draining fluid
  • Whether you have any other symptoms

Rarely, a CT scan may be ordered to look for sinus cavities under the surface of the skin.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/16/2014.


  • Humphries AE, Duncan JE. Evaluation and Management of Pilonidal Disease. Surgical Clinics of North America. Volume 90, Issue 1, February 2010, Pages 113–124.
  • Cameron JL, Cameron AM. Current Surgical Therapy, Expert Consult - Online and Print. Saunders; 2013.
  • Tintinalli JE. Emergency Medicine, a Comprehensive Study Guide. New York : McGraw-Hill, c2011.; 2010.

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