Treatment of Umbilical Pilonidal Sinus by Plastic Surgery

Umbilical Sinus is also referred to as Umbilical Pilonidal Sinus (UPS). This is a very rare disease. This is mainly found in young and hairy men with deep navels and a poor personal hygiene. Male are more likely to suffer from this than female. The age group of the patient is usually 10–30 years old.

Due to its rarity, this is not easy to diagnose in the early stage. UPS is often misdiagnosed.  Laboratory and/or radiologic investigations are only reserved for complications or differential diagnosis from other pathologies, such as an umbilical hernia, granuloma, and dermoid cyst.

Reasons behind Umbilical Pilonidal Sinus

The higher depth of the umbilicus or bellybutton makes it a natural target for hair accumulation. Softness, erosions, and wide pores make the umbilical skin very vulnerable to hair insertion. Once the umbilical skin is cracked by hair roots, a foreign body inflammatory response begins. Edema, moisture, and reduced skin integrity further facilitate the insertion of new hair shafts into the forming sinus tracts.

What are the symptoms of Umbilical Sinus?

  • Hair tuft in the bellybutton
  • Pain
  • Periumbilical Dermatitis
  • Discharge from the umbilicus
  • Skin damage

Treatment of Umbilical Pilonidal Sinus by Reconstructive Surgery

So far the previous conservative treatment attempts had failed to treat UPS. Initial treatment can be done by simple drainage and clean or scrape using a curette by a medical professional. Removing hairs, and packing the wound daily with appropriate antibiotics is the preferred treatment.

For patients with the symptomatic long-term and disease occurring at an irregular interval, Surgical Reconstructive treatment has shown to be more effective than conservative treatment. Since the bellybutton or the umbilicus is a component of glamorous appearance for many people like actors and models, the preference of surgeons towards Plastic or Reconstructive is reasonable


Umbilical Pilonidal Sinus could easily be misdiagnosed and mistreated because it is rare.  There is also a lack of awareness of the condition by physicians. Diagnosis is easy to establish with physical examination and a detailed history. Treatment of choice for a long-term disease, intermittent cases is surgical treatment of the affected portion. This helps in preserving the aesthetic of the body part.

FootNote: Dr. Ashok Pandey is a celebrated and revered personality in the field of cosmetic surgery. You can seek an appointment with him at Bombay Cosmetic Clinics  if you want to discuss further regarding UPS.

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