The Cleft Lift Pilonidal Surgery

Pilonidal cyst and sinus are common in many teenagers an young adults.  Many have occasional pain near the tailbone, sometimes accompanied by purulent discharge.  Pilonidal disease can be both uncomfortable and embarrassing for many.  Historically, treatment of pilonidal disease involved removing the infected area, and either leaving the hole open or closing the incision.   These procedures worked for most people, but often involved months of wound dressings and pain, while for as many as 25%, the pilonidal disease came back.   Because of previous experience with long healing times and recurrences, many patients and providers have searched for a better way to take on pilonidal disease.  Cleft lift pilonidal surgery is the better way.

Pilonidal Surgery Advances

About 20 years ago Dr. John Bascom from Eugene, OR developed a procedure called the cleft lift which involves removing the infected tissue and moving one side of the buttock over to the other side, creating an incision that is away from the midline. Dr. Bascom’s procedure has become the “gold standard” in pilonidal surgery because the outcomes are better than the traditional approach.  This procedure is safely done in an operating room by experienced pilonidal surgeons.   Surgery can take a little over an hour for patients who have mild disease or surgery for the first time.  Patients who have had surgery before, or have a long segment of disease may need a two to three hour procedure to increase the chance of a positive outcome. This procedure has been called different names – Bascom flap, cleft lift,  Bascom procedure.  We prefer to call if the cleft lift for ease, and because we have modified it slightly, based on work we have done with plastic surgeons.

Cleft Lift Surgery Benefits

The most significant benefits of cleft lift surgery for pilonidal disease when compared to traditional excision pilonidal surgery, is the lower risk of recurrence. Recurrence drops from about 25% for excision surgery to as low as 5% for cleft lift surgery. Dr. Michael Reinhorn has been performing the cleft lift procedure since 2006.

Video Explaining Cleft Lift Surgery

Please view the video below as Dr. Reinhorn explains why the cleft lift procedure is our procedure of choice.  There is no substitute for a medical evaluation, and Dr. Reinhorn and Lauren Ott PA-C are available for a consultation by calling our office or filling out our online consultation request form.




We have teamed up with JOMI – to create a video of the actual cleft lift surgery we do!

Use the link below to start the video.  You will be prompted to create a free user name and password, after which you will be able to watch the entire video.

The above information is provided for educational purposes only. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional evaluation by an experienced surgeon.

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