Patient Experiences

High praise from a grateful sufferer of an acute pilonidal abscess that was drained with great relief:

This dude is a pilonidal expert. For those that don’t know what this is, it’s this really annoying cyst in your butt crack that makes it hurt to sit down. It’s like having a zit / bruise on the end of your spinal cord. This doctor always relieves my pain and is a very nice person. He makes it so sitting down is not a pain in my ass. Thanks for this!  — AT

Statements from patients with more complex problems:

Fantastic surgeon with a lot of knowledge, patience AND great bed side manners!  —  BB

My son had surgery for a pilonidal cyst 4 years ago, he continued to have pain after surgery, had 2 more surgeries last year and had to leave school because it got to the point where he could not sit anymore—we saw Dr Sternberg for this, he recommended a “cleft lift procedure”.  My son had surgery on 12/9/2009 and went back to college Jan 2 , pain free after 4 years — Dr. Sternberg did a great job!  Would highly recommend him! —  PT

I had my pilonidal for several years before I found this site ( in my attempt to deal with the problem once and for all.

Through this site, I discovered the “cleft lift” proceedure as pioneered by Dr. John Bascom of Oregon. I decided to call Dr. Bascom, and he referred me to San Francisco based surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg who had been educated by Dr. Bascom as to how to perform the procedure.

I had the procedure and haven’t had any problems since! I’ve never had major surgery before, so I was a little unnerved by the whole process, which included a spinal anesthetic. I ended up having a drainage tube connected to the area for about a week after the procedure. Though inconvenient, it certainly beat having to do packing changes. The aftercare was pretty minimal, and in a few weeks I was back to normal.

I still have a little discomfort in the area where the abscess was if I put direct pressure on it, but that’s nothing compared to having a perpetually infected chronic abscess!

If you’re in the area, I highly suggest you check Dr. Sternberg out — GB

I had a cleft lift with Dr. Sternberg in San Francisco…it was great. No complaints, and he’s VERY nice. —  SS

I live in San Francisco, and I can’t speak greatly about Kaiser. I went to the Kaiser hospital here in the city and the one on the Peninsula close to Palo Alto and both rectal docs I saw there didn’t even recognize what was going on with me. I had a cleft lift, however, with Dr. Sternberg here in the city who is AMAZING!  — SS

I went to see Dr. Sternberg about my own pilonidal problems. I got the cleft lift procedure, and one of the first things he did (prior to surgery) was to look for the “pits” which he successfully removed during the procedure. The recovery was quicker than I had expected, and I’m quite satisfied with the results. Elated, even, after hearing recurrence horror stories with other techniques. I can’t recommend the Bascom cleft lift or the work of Dr. Sternberg highly enough. I’m a VERY satisfied customer. —  BA

I’ve been putting this off for a while, almost in disbelief that the pain in my behind is, indeed, behind me. It’s been a little over two years since surgery though, and I’m 100% back to normal life, aside from a miniscule scar and a story to tell, which is an admittedly awkward one at times.

If any of you are still seeking a cure, I highly, HIGHLY recommend the cleft lift procedure.  It’s the newest thing, with the lowest likelihood of recurrences, and quite minimal downtime. I was sitting on the couch like a normal person in short order (a couple weeks or so) with no packing of wounds, and relatively little inconvenience after having the drainage tube taken out, which was the worst part of the whole thing (and given the alternatives, a godsend).

If anyone happens to be living in the San Francisco bay area, I strongly urge you to visit Dr. Sternberg. He studied under Dr. Bascom, the doctor that pioneered and perfected the technique that, pardon the expression, saved my ass. I’m the type that fears the medical game and hack surgeons (I was raised by a nurse and heard more than enough horror stories), so I *really* did my research to find the procedure I wanted, and the right guy to do it. I even had to pay extra money versus the alternatives (thanks to less than mediocre insurance), but it was worth all the time and money I threw at it. — B

Pilonidal Surgery

This website should help you with this important decision: what is the best surgical option for...

1) primary disease with multiple or large pits,
2) persistent or recurrent disease,
3) an unhealed wound after one or several pilonidal surgeries

Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg

Dr Jeffrey Sternberg is a leading Colon and Rectal surgeon.Dr. Sternberg is active in the national leadership of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and has been elected President of the Northern California Chapter of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery. Extending his commitment to the care of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Dr. Sternberg serves on the Board of Directors of the Northern California Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.

Surgical Director
Center For Inflammatory Diseases
California Pacific Medical Center

Clinical Assistant Professor
of Surgery

University of California San Francisco

Contact Dr. Sternberg through San Francisco Surgical Medical Group.