Testimonials & Reviews

The Sternberg Clinic

Jeffrey A. Sternberg, MD, FACS, FASCRS

Pilonidal Surgery & Board-Certified Colorectal Surgeon located in Civic Center, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, CA

24 total reviews

Dr. Jeffrey A. Sternberg always appreciates feedback from his valued patients. To date, we’re thrilled to have collected 24 reviews with an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars. Please read what others are saying about Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg below, and as always, we would love to collect your feedback.

Ryan N.
Submitted 11/08/18
I have had multiple appointments and meetings with Dr. Sternberg since 2014, when I was first diagnosed with pilonidal disease. The first time I met Dr. Sternberg was during my initial “flare up” on my pilonidal cyst. I had gone to the ER, which refused to drain an abscess they were unfamiliar with, then proceeded to go to colorectal doctor in San Jose, who also refused to drain the abscess due to it “not being ready”. A few days later I was in Dr. Sternberg’s office, he immediately drained the abscess and discussed my long term option for pilonidal disease. He was extremely professional and left me feeling that I had reasonable options to deal with this disease. Following the initial draining, I had no issues or flare ups for two full years. By the time another occurred I had already moved out of the bay area and was lucky enough to find a physician who drained the abscess twice. After having have a constantly draining cyst for nearly 8-months, I contacted Dr. Sternberg again to set up a Cleft Lift surgery consultation. The consultation was straightforward, a review of my particular case and setting a date for the surgery, this was all done quickly. The front office staff (Andrea & Emon) where absolutely incredible working with me. They helped me schedule each appointment, surgery and post-op with Dr. Sternberg. In addition, they worked with me on my insurance (which refused to cover the out of network surgery) and gave me all the details of the surgical cost, out-patient facility cost and anesthesia cost. While I did pay out of pocket, they helped me understand my payment options and timing. They answered every question I had or directed my questions to Dr. Sternberg who responded quickly. Surgery day came around and I found myself at Presidio Surgery Center first thing on a Tuesday morning. The outpatient surgery center was professional, clean, quick and responded to all my inquiries within a reasonable time. I was pretty comfortable during my time there. They have nurses who take care of each step to prepare you for surgery. Prior to going into the operation room, I met quickly with the anesthesiologist (who was awesome) and Dr. Sternberg. I was able to get any last minute nervous questions out before the surgery. The surgery itself was a total blur, depending on your case you may go under full anesthesia or (what I believe is more common) get a spinal block. For me, this was the most nerve racking part. Do yourself a favor and don’t YouTube spinal blocks, just read about them. Mine was totally painless, prior to getting the shot itself, my anesthesiologist gave me what he called “surgical Gatorade”, which was really a shot into my IV that made me a bit light headed and definitely sucked the nerves away. I don’t even remember the actual spinal block. Next thing I know, I wake up in the post op recovery room. I felt pretty good, only concerning part of waking up was the numbness in my legs (spinal block) which took about an hour to go away. I was able to walk with no problems and had very minimal pain. I had a post op the next day with Dr. Sternberg where we went through the recovery process and steps to take to ensure proper healing (a boatload of gauze pads, paper tape and “rolling the flap”). For me, the recovery process was nearly painless (or at least a 100% less painful than having an active pilonidal cyst). You go through lots of gauze and tape, the rolling of the flap does not hurt significantly, more or less feels like pushing on a bruise. I was essentially given an antibiotic (for the open wound/surgical site/potential infection etc.), ibuprofen for swelling and a narcotic for pain. You are required to finish the antibiotic and ibuprofen, but take the narcotic as needed. I think I took 3 OxyContin pills in total and never more than ½ at a time, I’m also a pretty big dude, so I clearly wasn’t in a ton of pain. I encourage everyone to destroy (ask your pharmacist how) narcotic pills once you are no longer using them for this surgeries pain management, those things are no joke. The longest portion of the recovery was the drain hole, which took about 3-4 weeks to close up after the drain was removed. I am now approximately 50 days clear of surgery, everything is closed and healed up. In fact, I was able to start power lifting, biking and running at about day 40 (would have been earlier but I was waiting for the drain hole to close). I feel amazing, no pain, a little numbness, but pretty dang good. I can sit for long periods, put weight on my tail bone and no longer worry about a long flight or car ride. I highly encourage anyone suffering from pilonidal disease to reach out to the Sternberg Clinic, they have honestly changed my life.
Rhodri W.
Submitted 10/31/18
I had a cleft lift done by Dr. Sternberg in September of this year. I flew to San Fransisco all the way from Canada because of his stellar reputation and how helpful his staff had been to me even just on the phone as I navigated the difficulties of living with pilonidal. Even though I had to pay out of pocket and give up (free) surgery in Canada, it was worth every penny to access care that would allow me to return to my highly active lifestyle and career as a forest firefighter and muay thai athlete. I couldn't believe how little pain I experienced during my recovery and how fast it went, when I had read of others spending months in agony only to have their pilonidal return. Thank you Dr. Sternberg for solving my pilonidal disease once and for all! It was such a relief to receive the treatment that you and all your wonderful staff gave me!
Eric V.
Submitted 10/18/18
Dr Sternberg is the greatest! My son had to two ER drains for his back pilo cyst over a 6 month period. Nobody locally truly knew what to do to get it to stop. Finally a surgeon heard about Dr S and sent us down for a consultation. Just a few weeks later he has had surgery and back to playing basketball at 100% healthy! Dr S was also great at communicating with us and being available. I'm so glad we found him and my son is forever grateful!
Austin B.
Submitted 10/02/18
My life had come to a sudden halt when my ARMY recruiter told my I MUST get rid of that tiny opening just under my tail bone or their was no way I was going to make it through MEPS and unfortunatley get disqualified. At that point in time i had no idea what this tiny opening even was, so after some research and disappointing news I figured the only way was through surgery... so I had scheduled an appointment with a local surgeon who knew this operation "well". He operated and I had high hopes that i was going be good and I even let my recruiter know that I the operation was performed and I will be ok. It was the operation you hear about most online, cut you open, remove infection, leave wound open and pack it each day for like a good month and a half in hopes it will close. This is a tedious process that has a low success rate and its really hard to keep clean. A month off of work I headed back still with a open wound and the simple act of walking would cause my skin to chafe like I was at the beach all day. I felt no recovery and I was extremely disappointed with the result and at this point getting quite nervous with the military. Two months later no progress... With more research I came across Dr. Sternberg's website and checked out his operation and saw that he deals with this infection a different way and he has PROOF, before and after photos of how he does things. My hope had grown back, but their was one draw back I live in Florida and the good Dr. Sternberg was all the way in San Francisco. So two painful flights later I landed in the Bay with high hopes. I met Dr. Sternberg and quite happy with how it went I showed him the infection and he examined it for a second and then said, "yeah.. I can fix this". The infection was pretty bad too but he was not fazed in the slightest. He truly is the best in world for this operation. Post operation and two more flights back to Florida and a month on recovery I have gone back to running and working out and can proudly say the ARMY is now back on top I'll be joining very soon! I went from barley being able to walk and my future being shattered to running and my life being put back on track. If you have this same infection and your looking for some security in getting rid of this problem this IS your solution. Thank God for Dr. Sternberg and his amazing team and God Bless. GO ARMY, BEAT NAVY!!!!
Kim B.
Submitted 09/17/18
Dr. Sternberg is the most knowledgeable Doctor on the subject of pilonidal disease. My son had been referred to a general surgeon by our family doctor. The surgeon removed so much tissue that the wound was not healing. We were referred to a wound care clinic who told us that we should get evaluated by Dr. Sternberg. It was the best decision we made. Dr. Sternberg gave us superior care and did a Cleft lift on my son. The recovery was 4 weeks and my son was back to full contact sports (he is a collegiate athlete). Many thanks to Dr. Sternberg and his staff.
Jill V.
Submitted 08/31/18
I am extremely impressed with the professionalism as well as the kindness that Dr. Sternberg and his staff has shown me. He explains everything in detail which gave me great confidence going into surgery. Although the written instructions were helpful, having an appointment the day after surgery with my caretaker was essential for my piece of mind. Dr. Sternberg is a patient surgeon who cares about his patients from start to finish. I would recommend Dr. Sternberg to anyone who has pilonidal disease.
Jill V.
Submitted 08/30/18
Dr. Sternberg is an attentive, patient, through surgeon. He explained everything in advance, sent us home with instructions and even scheduled time the day after surgery for my husband to learn how to take care of me. He checked in with me throughout the next few months. When I fell and injured the incision area, he and his staff's kindness and compassion put my mind at ease. I am happy to say that 5 months after surgery I was back practicing boat pose (yoga). I feel blessed to have found Dr. Sternberg and highly recommend him.
Patricia H.
Submitted 08/29/18
If I could give Dr. Sternberg 1,000 stars, I would. My son has been suffering with pilonidal cysts for 4 years. It's been awful. We finally got referred to Dr. Sternberg. My son had a cleft lift and now our 4 year nightmare is over. I could not be more grateful to have found Dr. Sternberg.
Alex P.
Submitted 08/17/18
I could not have asked for a better experience. Dr. Sternberg is such a nice person, and his staff were so friendly and helpful. I had an unsuccessful surgery for pilonidal disease back home, and I decided to visit Dr. Sternberg to get it taken care of once and for all. Best decision I could have made. The surgery went smoothly and the recovery was simple (much simpler than my first surgery). Very little pain after the surgery (other than a bit of soreness in the immediate aftermath of the surgery, but that quickly passed). This problem is now taken care of for me. If you have pilonidal disease, Dr. Sternberg is the person you need to see. He explained the mistakes that other surgeons make and gave me details on how he was going to get this done. Everything went exactly as we planned it. Thank you, Dr. Sternberg! I truly appreciate your professionalism and dedication to treating pilonidal disease.
Jack B.
Submitted 08/13/18
Visiting Dr. Sternberg's clinic was the best decision I could have made regarding pilonidal disease. I'd seen a few other doctors in my local area, whose expertise ran the gamut from not even being able to identify my problem (even after I told them what I thought it was) to having limited experience with actually treating it in the most advanced way. I'd read so many horror stories about people who had painful procedures that never ended up fixing the problem that I was almost scared into the cleft lift procedure. I am privileged in that I lived in the same state as the Sternberg Clinic and had the means to visit and have the procedure. But it was worth the expense. It was a mostly painless experience, and everyone at the Clinic was professional, friendly, and responsive. They are the best at what they do, and the procedure went off without a hitch. It's been over six months now, and there hasn't been any hint of recurrence. If you have the means but are still on the fence about the cleft lift procedure with Dr. Sternberg, believe the good stories.
Matt C.
Submitted 08/05/18
Dr. Sternberg’s (and staff) care and expertise was nothing short of life changing. I’ll save some of the details of my pilonidal disease prior to my procedure with Dr. Sternberg, but I will mention that my disease progressed slowly over a very long period of time, and thus became somewhat easy to, at least, tolerate. I had read horror stories of botched surgeries, open wounds, and daunting recoveries. As a result, I was very reluctant to undergo surgery and simply tried to ignore all of my issues. Ultimately, I discovered Dr. Sternberg and the cleft lift procedure as an alternative treatment for pilonidal disease. I had consulted another surgeon, and could immediately recognize Dr. Sternberg’s expertise through his knowledgeable and concise description of my specific case and possible treatment. He recognized what other medical professionals did wrong in the horror stories that scared me so much, and assured me that the treatment he provided and my recovery would be much more manageable. Even that was an understatement! The surgery itself was very easy for me (obviously), I was anesthetized and only remember waking up in recovery. I was back in action after just a few days, and back on a plane a little over a week after surgery. Dr. Sternberg and his staff were incredibly helpful throughout the process, from initial consultation to recovery and follow-up. After my procedure I was able to see how much my pilonidal disease was impacting my life on a day to day basis, and it is massively improved. If you are hesitant to treat your pilonidal disease because of gruesome stories about other options, I urge you to trust Dr. Sternberg’s capabilities and get your life back. I’m incredibly grateful to him and his team!
Dillon S.
Submitted 08/05/18
I have been feeling great since the cleft lift procedure. The incision healed nicely within a couple of weeks of the surgery, and the scar has not been painful. It is so nice not to have to bandage myself every morning to keep pus and blood from potentially ruining my clothing. I have also enjoyed being able to work out without the sharp pains I had previously experienced because of my pilonidal issue. There is no sign of the pilonidal problem recurring. I am so glad I found you for this surgery! I hardly even think of the days when I was dealing with pain, infections, and drainage almost daily. Thank you very much.
Cooper T.
Submitted 07/30/18
Dr. Sternberg is a saint. He's a world-class surgeon and probably the nicest doctor I've ever met as well. I never had a doubt that Dr. Sternberg had my best interests in mind the whole way through. If you're having pilonidal cyst issues, Dr. Sternberg is the man to see. He solved my problem with the pilonidal cleft lift procedure after years of other doctors failing to fix the issue. Couldn't recommend more.
Laura B.
Submitted 07/13/18
Do not look any further! I found Dr. Sternberg on the internet while desperately searching for a cure for pilonidal disease after my son’s 3 failed surgeries within 2 years. The past two years of my son’s life has been on hold because of this frustrating condition. General surgeons and even colorectal surgeons do not have the expertise and training with the special cleft lift procedure that Dr Sternberg performs. We traveled to San Francisco from Texas and we would do it again in a heartbeat. My son is one month post op and has resumed all normal activities, the first time in TWO YEARS!! The recovery was unbelievably easy compared to the past surgeries and Dr Sternberg‘s care and concern for his patients goes above and beyond any I have ever experienced. He has checked in on my son weekly and if I ever have any questions or concerns he responds immediately. Please, please don’t waste your time or $$ going somewhere else. Thank you, Dr. Sternberg, for giving my son his life back!!
Leslie B.
Submitted 07/12/18
My 18 year old son had suffered with pilonidal disease for nearly three years. He had not had any previous surgeries but dealt with a constantly draining pilonidal sinus. We flew from Florida to San Francisco for Dr. Jeffrey Sternberg to perform the cleft lift surgery. Dr. Sternberg’s knowledge, expertise, experience, education were unparalleled and we knew he was the best physician in the country for this surgery. Dr. Sternberg performed the cleft lift surgery in the morning and we were back in our hotel by noon. After the surgery, Dr. Sternberg shared with me that my son had a large abscess, was not an easy surgery, and that was why the surgery went a little longer than expected but not to worry that it was all fine. That was when I was incredibly grateful that he was the under the care of Dr. Sternberg and we went to the effort to come to San Francisco. In the evening, we get a call from Dr. Sternberg asking how he was doing and feeling. First, we couldn’t believe that the surgeon actually called, and second, my son was doing fantastic. Before this horrible pilonidal disease, my son was a competitive tennis player that traveled for tournaments and had a bright future. Unfortunately, over these past two years, he quit competing, essentially never picked up a tennis racquet and gained a lot of weight. This disease destroyed him. One month later, after zero complications, my son is back on the tennis courts and now is working as a teaching pro! We would have never imagined that quick of a recovery. He is pain free, no drainage, back exercising and very, very happy and about to leave for college. And it is all thanks to Dr. Sternberg!!! I cannot stress enough to pick the right surgeon. We went to numerous doctor appointments, did A LOT of research and knew that no one compared to Dr. Sternberg. He is a phenomenal surgeon and THE one to go to for anyone suffering with pilonidal disease!!
Amanda W.
Submitted 05/04/18
I am about one year post-op from my cleft lift surgery with Dr. Sternberg. To be honest, I thought all surgeons were the same after my first failed operation. I suffered with my pilondial cyst for over a year. It all started on a road trip from Michigan to California. Just as I was approaching San Francisco (little did I know at the time - Dr. Sternberg was located there), I was in excruciating pain. I had no idea what it was (I thought it was a hemorrhoid at first). I finally drove myself to an urgent care only an hour from SF in Santa Rosa because I could no longer walk. I had the cyst drained and the doctor pretty much told I'd likely need surgery if I didn't want it to return. I ended up flying back to Michigan (where I'm from) to have the operation there. I knew nothing about pilondial disease - I had literally never heard of such a thing. I was a young, happy, care free 20-something year old and did not do the research I should have before allowing someone to operate on me. I went to a general surgeon in Lapeer, MI who took one glance at me and told me I needed surgery and that he would stitch it up but there was a HIGH chance it would return. What the heck is the point of the surgery if there is an extremely high chance it's going to return? I didn't know any alternatives at the time, so went forward with it. I had the surgery and 3 weeks later moved back to NYC. I suffered that entire year. I couldn't sit for long periods of time, there was a tiny pin sized hole that never stopped draining, I never felt 100% great, and worst of all I couldn't exercise like I used to. I finally went back to MI to see my surgeon 6 months later who told me that the hole would heal and he didn't think it would come back. I ended up moving out to SF March of last year and finally made myself an apt to see Dr Sternberg. When I went to see him, I was extremely emotional after dealing with this for over a year and (as you could imagine) very upset when he told me I'd likely need another operation. I ended up not scheduling my surgery for a month or two because I was in denial. The cyst ended up returning and I knew this was going to be the only chance I had to get rid of it for good. I was so nervous to have the operation (since it is a bit more extensive than my little cut & stitch it up that did nothing for me) and Dr. Sternberg was SO patient with me. I had a million questions and was so annoying looking back! Even with an office full of patients, he went out of his way to answer every question I had and assured me that this was going to be the answer. The operation went well and I was back on my feet within a few weeks. I never even ended up taking the pain meds (but I wouldn't recommend that considering I was in some pain post-op for a few days). I cannot put into words how grateful I am to have my normal life back. I'm back to the gym, running, biking (all of the things I loved) and I owe it all to Dr. Sternberg. He literally gave me my life back. If you are suffering with this, please know that there is an answer! Dr. Sternberg is an expert in this. If you are suffering, please go see him!!!
Mollie M.
Submitted 04/23/18
This will be a very long story-review. It is needed to know the full effect of what pilonidal disease will do to someone and how life-changing Dr. Sternberg's procedure is. I have suffered with pilonidal disease for about the last two years. The first couple times it became inflamed, it was extremely painful but the acute exacerbation resolved itself both times. During these shorter exacerbations, I researched pilonidal disease and self-diagnosed my problem. I even read about Dr. Sternberg on a pilonidal disease forum. I had a friend previously who had a conventional surgical treatment for pilonidal disease and he had a terrible experience with a big hunk of tissue removed from his tailbone area. Dr. Sternberg's technique seemed a lot different from that, but I decided that mine wasn't so bad and I didn't need any surgical intervention so I moved on with my life. It wasn't until I was on vacay with my hubby in Ireland, June-July 2017, that it became inflamed and infected to the point of needing to go to the hospital! I was in so much pain I could barely walk or move and definitely couldn't sit without excruciating pain. I went to the A&E in Northern Ireland (the bright side of this story is that I got to experience a health care system other than the U.S... A long wait, standing for 3 hrs because I couldn't sit, in the A&E but no bill, no cost whatsoever. That was a shocker!). Anyway, the multiple providers I saw confirmed what I had already suspected, I had a pilonidal abscess. They wanted to do an incision and drainage procedure which would mean wound packing and staying in one Ireland location for at least 5-7 days (THE REMAINDER OF OUR VACATION). I opted out of this, they gave me antibiotics and pain medication and sent me on my way but insisted that I saw someone about the problem upon returning to the U.S., it was going to come back eventually. 'Ok, Ok, I will' I thought. The antibiotics did the trick and I was feeling better after a couple days. My husband and I made the most of the rest of our trip and came home. After returning home, I was feeling fine and of course I didn't bother going to see anyone about my pilonidal disease. Then... The week leading up to Thanksgiving 2017, my monster reared its ugly head again. I was down for the count. I was in so much pain I couldn't even sleep, I woke up one night feeling terrible, I almost thought I was septic. I went to an urgent care clinic the next day and pleaded with the NP to not do the incision and drainage that she wanted to do. I promised that I would go see the surgeon I had previously read about. She gave me antibiotics and pain meds and I called Dr. Sternberg's clinic that same day. Thankfully, I already live near the SF Bay Area and would not have to travel too far to see him. I got an appt for a consultation in January. Ok... I just have to be really careful and hope and pray that it doesn't get so bad again before January. Not to mention I was starting a new job as an RN at a hospital in January! I constantly had to sit sideways, alternating butt cheeks, sat on a neck pillow in the car on my way to and from work, I was miserable. I would feel it occasionally ramp up like it was going to get really bad, then it would go away...My consultation comes, I am a good candidate for the cleft lift surgery, YAY! Surgery won't happen until March, ughhh :-( I wait another miserable 2 months, unable to sit like a normal human being, having a constantly irritated tailbone area, and the ever-lingering threat of an infective assault on my body. Finally March is here! I'm excited and nervous of course. I stay the night in the city with my mom who is also an RN and will be my wound-care nurse after surgery. Surgery is bright and early, the surgery center was wonderful. Dr. Sternberg was always positive, smiling, and assured me that all would be great. The surgery went well, I went back to the hotel and did homework for my online BSN I am obtaining, hopped up on pain meds but I still got A's on my assignments ;-) The day after surgery I had a post-op follow-up appt and Dr. Sternberg taught my mom how to care for the incision and drain. Drain out 6 days later. I am now a little more than 5 weeks post-op and I am fantastic!! I am SOOO happy I chose to go to Dr. Sternberg. Changed my life forever. Thank you Dr. Sternberg!!
Patrick A.
Submitted 04/16/18
After dealing with a pilonidal cyst for over a year, Dr.Sternberg recommended I get a cleft lift. 6 weeks after the surgery, I'm completely healed and I can finally exercise as much as I'd like! Dr.Sternberg has a great bed side manor, and I would highly recommend seeing him if you're suffering from any of the issues he specializes in.
Sam B.
Submitted 03/19/18
I had the cleft lift done back on January 10th of this year and I could not be happier! After 4 failed surgeries and multiple visits to wound care "specialists" I found Dr. Sternberg online and decided it was time to go to San Fran. He was extremely professional, outgoing and kind and made the whole process very easy. Fast forward to now and I am completely healed and back to all activities before this whole thing started. I am so thankful for Dr. Sternberg and his whole team for helping me get rid of this problem.
Jack B.
Submitted 02/05/18
So far, my cleft lift seems to have been accomplished with a minimal amount of pain by a team of true professionals. At every stage: scheduling, pre-surgery, surgical visit, and follow-ups - they listened, they gave advice, and they guided us through an anxious time. I must say, though, I was never afraid because Dr Sternberg always seemed fully committed and knowledgeable about the procedure. I am greatly relieved that I had this procedure done before making any other drastic moves in regard to pilonidal disease. A lot of doctors (including my former primary care) couldn't even correctly identify the disease, let alone prescribe an efficient and effective treatment. If you have the means, turn to the Sternberg Clinic. If you're unsure if you have the means, reach out anyway and they will offer you the best advice and help possible