Removal (excision) of a Bartholin gland cyst is a minor surgical procedure. You may need to stay in hospital for 2 or 3 days afterwards. Because the vulva has an extensive blood supply, removing a Bartholin gland cyst can cause bleeding. If the cyst is painful, your doctor probably will recommend a general anesthetic to put you to sleep.
Three techniques for Bartholin gland removal:
Your doctor will make a small cut in the cyst. He’ll then place a small rubber tube (catheter) into the opening to allow it to drain. It can stay in place for up to 6 weeks. You’ll feel better right away after the fluid has been drained. But you may need to take oral pain medication for several days afterwards. Keep in mind that a Bartholin's cyst or abscess may come back and need treatment again.
Side effects include pain or discomfort especially during sex. You might also have swelling of the labia (lips around the vagina), infection, bleeding, or scarring.
If cysts bother you or come back, this procedure may help. Your doctor cuts the cyst to open it. He then stitches the skin around the cyst to form a small pouch. This allows the fluid to drain out. He packs the area with special gauze to soak up the fluid and any blood. The whole process takes less than half an hour, and you can go home the same day.
Your doctor may prescribe painkillers afterward. There’s also a risk of infection, bleeding, and the abscess coming back.
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Your doctor might recommend this option if others haven’t worked or you keep getting Bartholin’s cysts and abscesses. This surgery takes about an hour and you’ll receive anesthesia so you’re not awake for it. Many patients are able to go home after the procedure.
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How long does it take to recover from Bartholin cyst removal?
You can expect to feel better and stronger each day, although you may get tired quickly and need pain medicine for a week or two. You may need about 2 to 4 weeks to fully recover.
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After surgery, you may have pain and discomfort in your vulva for several days. It may be uncomfortable to sit for long periods of time. You may also have pain if your urine comes into contact with your wound.
To help your wound heal and reduce the risk of infection after surgery, you may be advised to avoid:
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While most people with a Bartholin's abscess completely recover, in some cases the cyst will return and become infected again. After the gland has healed, the tube and balloon are removed. Sometimes a carbon dioxide laser or silver nitrate is used to prevent a cyst from growing back. For severe cysts that keep coming back, you may have surgery to remove the Bartholin gland and duct.
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The Bartholin's glands are located on each side of the vaginal opening. These glands secrete fluid that helps lubricate the vagina. Sometimes the openings of these glands become obstructed, causing fluid to back up into the gland. The result is relatively painless swelling called a Bartholin's cyst. If the fluid within the cyst becomes infected, you may develop a collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue (abscess). A cyst is a sac filled with liquid or semisolid material that forms under the skin or somewhere inside the body.
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