Original Research

The Gips Procedure for Pilonidal Disease: A Retrospective Review of Adolescent Patients

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Surgery for pilonidal disease (PD) often is followed by an unpleasant postoperative course that restricts school and social activities. We performed a retrospective medical record review to evaluate the outcome of the Gips procedure on 19 adolescents with PD. We recorded each patient’s age at surgery, surgical history, symptoms, duration of operation and hospital stay, time to return to activity, wound healing time, and recurrence. Our review demonstrated that the Gips procedure is an easy-to-use technique in adolescents with PD and had a high success rate. Furthermore, it is less restrictive on school and social activities than traditional surgical therapies.

Practice Points

  • The Gips procedure is an easy-to-use outpatient procedure for adolescents with pilonidal disease.
  • This procedure has a high success rate and does not restrict school or social activities.



Pilonidal disease (PD) is common in Turkey. In a study in Turkey, 19,013 young patients aged 17 to 28 years were examined; PD was detected in 6.6% of patients (0.37% of females in the cohort and 6.23% of males).1 The incidence of PD in military personnel (women 18 years and older; men 22 years and older) is remarkably higher, with an incidence of 9% reported in Turkish soldiers.2

Pilonidal disease has become common in Turkish adolescents, who now experience an increase in desk time because of computer use and a long duration of preparation for high school and university entrance examinations. In adolescent and adult population studies, Yildiz et al3 and Harlak et al4 reported that sitting for 6 hours or more per day was found to significantly increase the risk for PD compared to the control group (P=.028 and P<.001, respectively).

Surgery for PD often is followed by a considerable and unpleasant postoperative course, with a long period of limited physical activity, loss of school time, and reduced social relationships. The recurrence rate of PD is reported to be as high as 40% to 50% after incision and drainage, 40% to 55% with rigorous hygiene and weekly shaving, and as high as 30% following operative intervention. Drawbacks of operative intervention include associated morbidity; lost work and school time; and prolonged wound healing, which can take days to months.5-7

For these reasons, minimally invasive surgical techniques have become popular for treating PD in adolescents, as surgery can cause less disruption of the school and examination schedule and provide an earlier return to normal activities. Gips et al8—who operated on 1358 adults using skin trephines to extirpate pilonidal pits and the underlying fistulous tract and hair debris—reported a low recurrence rate and good postoperative functional outcomes with this technique. Herein, we present our short-duration experience with the Gips procedure of minimally invasive sinusectomy in adolescent PD.


We performed a retrospective medical record review of patients with symptomatic PD who were treated in our clinic between January 2018 and February 2019 using the Gips procedure of minimally invasive sinusectomy. We identified 19 patients younger than 17 years. Patients with acute inflammation and an acute undrained collection of pits were treated with incision and drainage, with close clinical follow-up until inflammation resolved. We also recommended that patients take a warm sitz bath at least once daily and chemically epilate the hair in the affected area if they were hirsute.

Gips Procedure
For all patients, the Gips procedure was performed in the left lateral position under general anesthesia using a laryngeal mask airway for anesthesia. Patients were closely shaved (if hirsute) then prepared with povidone-iodine solution. First, each fistulous opening was probed to assess depth and direction of underlying tracts using a thin (0.5–1.0 mm), round-tipped probe. Next, a trephine—comprising a cylindrical blade on a handle—was used to remove cylindrical cores of tissue. All visible median pits and lateral fistulous skin openings were excised using skin trephines of various diameters (Figure, A and B). Once the pilonidal cavity was reached, attention was directed to removing all residual underlying tissue—granulation tissue, debris, and hair—through all available accesses. The cavity was cleaned with hydrogen peroxide and normal saline. Then, all trephine-made openings were left unpacked or were packed for only a few hours and were not sutured (Figure, C and D); a light gauze bandage was eventually applied with a minimum of tape and skin traction. Patients were kept supine during a 1- or 2-hour clinical observation period before they were discharged.

A, Pilonidal disease in an adolescent girl who was treated with the Gips procedure. B, Subcutaneous granulation tissue, debris, and hair were removed with a skin trephine, which was advanced over the metal probe connecting the 2 sinus orifices. C and D, Trephine-made openings in a female patient and a male patient, respectively, were left unpacked or were packed for only a few hours and were not sutured. E, At 3-month follow-up, the male patient experienced complete wound healing.

Postoperatively, no regular medications other than analgesics were recommended; routine daily activities were allowed. Patients were encouraged to sleep supine and wash the sacrococcygeal region with running water several times a day after the second postoperative day. Frequent showering, application of povidone-iodine to the wound after defecation, and regular epilation of the sacrococcygeal area also were recommended to all patients.

All patients were routinely followed by the same surgical group weekly until wound healing was complete (Figure, E).

Medical Record Review
Patients’ electronic medical records were reviewed retrospectively, and parameters including age at surgery, surgical history, symptoms, duration of operation and hospital stay, time to return to activity, wound healing time, and recurrence were recorded.


Of the 19 patients who underwent the Gips procedure, 17 (90%) were male; 2 (10%) were female. The mean (standard deviation [SD]) body mass index was 25 (3.7). (Body mass index was calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared.) The mean age (SD) of patients was 15 (1.1) years (range, 12–17 years). The most common symptom at presentation was purulent discharge (11/19 [58%]). Other common symptoms included pain (8/19 [42%]), pilonidal abscess (6/19 [32%]), and bleeding (4/19 [21%]). Nine patients (47%) had prior abscess drainage at presentation; 1 (5%) had previously undergone surgery, and 5 (26%) previously had phenol injections.

The median (SD) length of stay in the hospital was 15 (3.2) hours (range, 11–22 hours). The mean (SD) time before returning to daily activities and school was 2 (0.6) days (range, 1–3 days). In our patients, the Gips procedure was performed on either a Thursday or more often a Friday; therefore, patients could be scheduled to be discharged from the hospital and return to home the next day, and then return to school on Monday. All patients were advised to take an oral analgesic for 2 days following the procedure.


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