What is post-operative care following Bartholin abscess drainage?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
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Note the following:

  • Antibiotic treatment is at the discretion of the treating clinician. Antibiotics are not usually indicated in the immunocompetent patient with a drained Bartholin abscess. Antibiotics are typically administered if cellulitis is present.

  • When a Word catheter is not available, and an urgent referral to a provider who can place the catheter is not possible, a simple incision and drainage with packing can be performed. Warn the patient of the high probability of abscess recurrence and refer the patient to a gynecologist. [11] Marsupialization can also be considered in this setting. Gauze packing should be removed within 24-48 hours. [12]

  • All patients should be instructed to begin sitz baths 1-2 days postprocedure and to abstain from vaginal intercourse until the Word catheter or packing is removed.

  • Prescribe analgesics and refer patients to a gynecologist for follow-up.

  • Patients older than 40 years should be referred to a gynecologist for a biopsy to rule out Bartholin gland cancer.

  • Patients with multiple recurrences with previous treatments should be referred to a gynecologist for definitive treatment (complete excision).

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