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Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2018 Aug/Sep;19(6):566-572. doi: 10.1089/sur.2018.099. Epub 2018 Aug 10.

Laser Hair Depilation in the Treatment of Pilonidal Disease: A Systematic Review.

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1 Center for Surgical Outcomes Research, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital , Columbus, Ohio.
2 Department of Pediatric Surgery, Nationwide Children's Hospital , Columbus, Ohio.



Laser hair depilation has shown promise in small series of patients with pilonidal sinus disease. The purpose of this study was to review the published literature on laser hair depilation in pilonidal disease to determine its effect on disease recurrence.


The PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were searched to identify all studies published through December 1, 2017 that examined the role of laser hair depilation in the treatment of pilonidal sinus disease. Study characteristics, including design, treatment regimen, number of patients evaluated, rate of recurrence, and duration of follow up were recorded.


Thirty-five published studies were included. Of these, 28 studies were retrospective and seven were prospective. There were five comparative studies: two retrospective, one prospective observational, and two randomized controlled trials. The number of patients included in each study ranged from one to 86 patients and patients received between one and 11 laser treatments. The pilonidal disease recurrence rate after laser depilation ranged from 0% to 28% at a mean follow-up ranging from 6 months to 5 years across studies. Four of the five studies that included a comparative group demonstrated a decreased recurrence rate compared to the non-laser cohort.


Laser hair depilation is a promising therapy in the management of pilonidal disease. However, the literature published to date is heterogeneous and has limited generalizability. Additional research is needed to determine the effectiveness of laser hair depilation to prevent pilonidal disease recurrence.


depilation; laser hair removal; pilonidal cyst; pilonidal disease; recurrence; systematic review

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