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Operations: Excision of Bartholin’s gland

Insurance code: P0310

Introduction: This information is written by John Fairbank and is provided for the benefit of his patients. Additional information will be given during consultation in the clinic and during the pre-operative discussion. It is not appropriate for all surgeons’ individual practice or for all patients.

Purpose of operation: Surgical removal of Bartholin’s glands is carried out in a few cases where recurrent Bartholin’s cysts or abscesses have not responded to conservative measures. It is rarely used as a means of helping chronic vulval discomfort.

Description of procedure: The skin over the Bartholin’s gland is opened. The gland is identified as far as practical and as much of the gland is removed as possible bearing in mind that it infiltrates into the tissues beneath the vulva and vagina. This area is quite vascular and a prolonged post-operative course can be expected.

Anaesthetic: General

Length of stay: Day case or overnight stay depending on post-operative comfort
Post-operative management: Analgesia as required. A catheter is not usually required. A short course of anti-biotics are prescribed.

Potential complications. Complications at the time of surgery are rare. Post-operative complications are common and include extensive bruising and post-operative infection in the operation site. Anti-biotics are usually required. Chronic discomfort is a rare but potential complication of this operation since it is sometimes carried out to try and relieve chronic discomfort.

Post-operative consultation: A post-operative review at anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months may be suggested depending on the indication for the surgery and the immediate post-operative course. Signs of infection should be reported to the General Practitioner or to Mr Fairbank as discussed during the post-operative period.

Other considerations: This operation should be considered as a last resort and avoided if possible!

Relevant websites:

Information on Bartholin’s cysts and abscess