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Removing a Bartholin Gland Cyst

Topic Overview

Removal (excision) of a Bartholin gland cyst is a minor surgical procedure. Because the vulva has an extensive blood supply, removing a Bartholin gland cyst can cause bleeding. This is best treated in a surgical setting.

In a surgery center, you will be given whatever numbing and calming medicine you need for the procedure. If the cyst is painful, your doctor probably will recommend a general anesthetic to put you to sleep.

You do not need to stay overnight at the hospital after an excision.

An excision procedure includes:

  • Positioning you on the exam table in the same position used for a pelvic exam or Pap test.
  • Cleaning the vulva and vagina with an antiseptic solution.
  • Injecting a numbing medicine (local anesthetic) in the vulva area.
  • Making a small cut (incision) into the cyst.
  • Draining the fluid out of the cyst.
  • Removing the entire cyst sac, which is the membrane that contains the cyst.

In rare cases, the entire Bartholin gland and duct are removed. This is often recommended for postmenopausal women with Bartholin gland problems because of the risk of cancer, which increases with age. But simply draining a Bartholin cyst and testing the cyst tissue for cancer is also a reasonable first-time treatment.

To lower your risk of infection, do not have sexual intercourse until the area is completely healed. This can take several weeks.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised January 7, 2013

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